Gadgets for humans

OnBeep’s Onyx is a wearable walkie-talkie

OnBeep Onyx wearable

If you’re like me and find group chats in messaging services annoying, you might be interested in the latest wearable device doing the rounds: the Onyx is a small puck that clips on to your shirt for instant push-to-talk voice chat with another user, or several –- and negates the need to read or type messages on your phone.

Developed by San Francisco-based startup OnBeep, the Onyx pairs with Android and iOS phones over Bluetooth and uses a data connection to enable users to chat with others in a group. Companion apps allow users to create groups to talk to and switch between multiple groups. Of course, this requires everyone in group to have their own Onyx device on them. Here’s the device in action:

OnBeep CEO and co-founder Jesse Robbins said in an interview with Forbes that people who are constantly on the move at work, like those in delivery, construction, and factory supervision, are most likely to find the Onyx useful – and he hopes that users will also make it a part of their lives in social situations, such as a holiday with friends.

OnBeep Onyx App

OnBeep’s Onyx is available for pre-order at $99 each or $195 for a pair, and the first run of devices will ship in the US this December. That price point seems a tad steep, but given that other wearables like smartwatches and fitness bands are priced far higher, it’ll be interesting to see how widely the Onyx is adopted.

OnBeep Onyx

My thinking is that this functionality could well be integrated into the next generation of smartwatches: they already have a display and can transmit voice and audio – all that’s needed is a dedicated button for users to push and talk. I’ll let the engineers figure that one out.


For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on Twitter and Flipboard.

Published November 6, 2014 — 08:56 UTC

Pssst, hey you!

Do you want to get the sassiest daily tech newsletter every day, in your inbox, for FREE? Of course you do: sign up for Big Spam here.