While the sound quality of over-the-ear headphones is generally much better than a set of earbuds, the convenience of using earbuds while on the go can't be denied. Many earbuds are fairly similar feature-wise, so the deciding factors for most people will usually be sound quality and price. But if you're the sort that likes to share with friends of questionable personal hygiene, a feature of iSkin's new earTones earbuds might also enter into the equation – they're the first to boast Microban antimicrobial protection.

Microban provides antimicrobial protection to a wide range of products, including HVAC systems, cleaning supplies, footwear, deli slicers, paint and toys, and with earTones has now made its way into earbuds. It is embedded on both earbuds as well as the microphone control surfaces to inhibit the growth of odor-, fungus- and stain-causing bacteria on these surfaces. And before you start getting excited about how spic-and-span your ears will be, you should know that Microban won't actually protect the user by inhibiting the spread of bacteria, but will only protect the earbuds and microphone controls from degradation, stains and odors caused by bacteria.

Another first for the earTones is a flexible earbud feature called "FlexFit" that sees the business end of the earbuds sitting upon a flexible neck that iSkin claims allows the earbuds to be inserted in to the ear more easily and results in greater overall comfort.

Other features include a built-in remote with integrated microphone, choice of colors, optimization for iOS devices and BlackBerry smartphones and the ability to control iTunes when plugged into a late 2009 or later Mac.

The earTones earphones are available from iSkin for US$39.99.

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