With a Sonos sound system, people can pump music through every room of the house using their Android phone or tablet as a master control device. This wireless audio jujitsu previously required users to directly plug a Sonos Bridge into their routers, which would create a dedicated network for the system to do its business on. With version 5.1, the Bridge is no longer required. New customers can set up their Sonos systems using their existing Wi-Fi networks.
Got an Android Wear device? If so, there's a mic on your wrist, so you might as well use it to keep track of all the insightful things that come tumbling out of your mouth. Or random craziness, whichever you're more prone to. Wear Audio Recorder lets you record voice notes from the watch, which are then pushed over to the phone.
XBMC started life as a hack for the original Xbox game console, but it has since evolved into a much-beloved open source home theater system on a number of platforms. After months of release candidates and betas, XBMC 13.0 (codename Gotham) is ready to download on Android (and other stuff).
The new version brings a number of improvements, only some of which pertain directly to Android. The most relevant to our interests is the inclusion of hardware media decoding on ARM and x86 Android devices.
Google added native screen recording functionality in Android 4.4, but it only works over ADB and there's no audio output. Third-party developers have been working on ways to expand the usability of the native functionality, but the root only app SCR might be the closest to implementing sound and video perfectly after the most recent update.
In the new version, SCR gains support for experimental recording of internal audio with the video.
It turns out Spotify Connect has a very useful feature that the company hasn't done much to make immediately obvious. The service, which lets you stream music to WiFi-connected speakers from your smartphone or tablet, also lets you pump music to other Android devices. The devices don't even have to be on the same network, for that matter. You can connect from an LTE network, as you can see in the screenshots below.
If you're an audio perfectionist, you've surely stumbled onto flac, an audio compression format designed to deliver lossless recordings. The file sizes are considerably larger than your average MP3, but the sound quality is unparalleled by lossy compression algorithms. It's not hard to see why audiophiles drift towards flac as their preferred storage medium. Now imagine the latest version of Android is causing stuttering, cracks, pops, and static in the otherwise perfect playback of flac.
Vizio's pulled the curtains off two new Portable Smart Audio speakers that are powered by Android 4.4. What makes them special are the touchscreens embedded into the front of each device. Instead of having to pair them with a phone using Bluetooth, users will be free to stream music directly from the likes of Spotify and Pandora or enjoy video from Netflix or YouTube. Think of each version as a bulky tablet that doesn't need to rest in your lap, one with speakers that you won't leave you reaching for earbuds.
We've all heard the story before. A brand new, very popular device rolls out to the public and everybody hurries to get their hands on it. Shortly thereafter, people start to notice some of the more serious issues that degrade the experience or even make the gadget unusable. When that device is a phone and one of those issues is audio quality during calls and recordings, people can become justifiably angry.