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Moto X: No Jawbone Up Support? No Problem (Workaround)

September 30th, 2013 1:36am Leave a comment

8696-heroWhen I got my Moto X, I was fully disappointed to learn that when I plugged my Jawbone UP wristband into it, it would not even recognize the device. How could this be possible? It’s Motorola’s flagship new phone, which should be able to handle anything modern.  Even my old Galaxy Nexus supported the Jawbone Up. So what is the deal?

First,  let me explain how 3.5mm headsets work. For devices to transfer data through a headphone jack (Square reader, Jawbone Up, etc), they use line in support on a 3.5mm headphone jack and send analog waves to the phone. This makes sense as a microphone, but to send data, software must read this analog signal. To cut costs, some manufacturers just have 3.5mm output ports that do not support line in (for example, the first generation Nexus 7). To quote Wikipedia, “Three- or four-conductor (TRS or TRRS) 2.5 mm and 3.5 mm sockets are common on cell phones, providing mono (three conductor) or stereo (four conductor) sound and a microphone input, together with signaling (e.g., push a button to answer a call).”

According to Motorola, “At this time, devices that have a microphone input but no microphone output (Square Card Reader, Jawbone UP) are not currently supported.”  This was an oversight by Motorola and they should be ashamed of themselves, because it’s 100% a software problem. The device hardware fully supports line in devices. Want proof? Find an iPhone 5 friend with a pair of Apple EarPods and plug them into your Moto X.  If you’re not familiar, Apple’s EarPods also function as a mic and can be used to make voice calls and increase or decrease the phone volume. When using these on the Moto X, the physical volume buttons on the EarPods don’t work as far as controlling the phone’s volume, but the center button does to pause any music that is playing. Additionally, if you place a call with the EarPods plugged in it will work perfectly as a mic. So once I saw this, I figured there was absolutely no reason the Jawbone UP should not sync. SO I started playing around and found out:

 

To make the Jawbone UP work on a Moto X (Or any of the new Verizon Droids)

  1. Plug the band into an iPhone, or some other device that has proper line in support (if your laptop/computer has a 3.5mm jack that has a headset logo, it should work)
  2. The sun icon status light on your Jawbone UP band should flash. If it does not flash, you cannot continue – find a device where the band flashes when you plug it in.
  3. On your Moto X, launch the Jawbone UP app
  4. Plug the Up into your Moto X (within 30 seconds of step 2)
  5. The sun icon status light on your Jawbone UP band should flash
  6. You may get some warning about listening at high volume (ignore this) – the Moto X thinks you plugged in a headset.
  7. Click the sync button and it should work.

 

You’re welcome

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  1. Gigi
    November 12th, 2013 at 11:48 | #1

    Just got my Moto X and cannot even get the app to load onto the phone. It isn’t showing as available in neither the Play Store on my PC nor on my phone. So while I appreciate the work around, it’s a moot point without the app accessibility. This “cutting corners” by Motorola is very disappointing.

    • November 13th, 2013 at 12:10 | #2

      I guess Jawbone noticed it wasn’t fully supported on the Moto X and marked it incompatable with it on the Play Store (which means you will not be able to install it through the store at least).

      Android 4.4 Kit Kat will make it to the MotoX in the coming weeks and hopefully Motorola fixed this issue.

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