Despite being well received, the Jaybird X2 wireless earbuds caught some heat for not being significantly different from the first gen version. The new Jaybird Freedom (technically the Freedom F5) wireless earbuds are a different animal entirely. Jaybird has slimmed down the size of the earbuds to make them more comfortable, but says it hasn't sacrificed sound quality. They do look almost impossibly small. I've been taking these earbuds for a spin to see if they are worth the admittedly high $200 price tag.
A serious audiophile will scoff at Bluetooth audio. They also scoff at most other things, but maybe there will be less wireless scoffing now that Qualcomm's aptX HD audio codec is a thing. Using aptX HD, a device can output true 24-bit audio over Bluetooth, and there's already a Bluetooth hardware module that supports it.
Audio latency is defined as the time delay that a signal experiences as it passes through a system. On a mobile device, this is deeply related to how long it takes between tapping on a screen and receiving audio feedback. Low audio latency can be the difference between an immersive gaming experience and an unpleasant, disconnected one. Too long a latency and a device can begin to feel strangely laggy, even if every visual animation is snappy and responsive. It is especially important — essential, even — for recording and composing music, since slow audio feedback can easily throw off even the best artists and destroy their creative process.
Android has long had trouble with audio latency, which has made most music creation tools unworkable on the platform. Things were vastly improved in Android 5.0 to the point that many devices achieved the low latency needed for various audio apps to function. However, not all devices are created equal. In Marshmallow, Google has added a professional audio package manager and there are requirements laid out for devices that take advantage of it.
LG isn't the only consumer electronics company looking to sell you very expensive sound equipment with Google Cast built-in. Sony has just announced a line of sound bars and A/V receivers that will support Google Cast. As with LG, these will not be cheap devices.
Sony's new sound bar collection has four different sound bars including (in ascending cost) the HT-CT380, HT-CT780, HT-NT3, and the HT-ST9. The cheapest one is $349.99 MSRP and the most expensive goes for $1499.99. Note, only the HT-NT3 ($700) and HT-ST9 ($1500) have Google Cast, but all of them support Bluetooth. The Cast-enabled speakers also come with a separate subwoofer, and the HT-ST9 does 7.1 surround with seven discrete amplifiers and nine speakers in the single bar.
Accessing and controlling a full-sized desktop on a handheld machine is no task for the timid, and making a tool to do it isn't easy, either. But virtualization software vendor Parallels knows a trick or two, and they've added one or two more into the Android version of Access. The latest update includes new tools to access remote computer files, better compatibility for the S-Pen stylus on Samsung Galaxy Note phones and tablets, and better audio options.
The biggest addition to version 2.5 is the built-in file browser, which makes opening files remotely on a mobile screen much, much easier.
Altec Lansing has announced a meaningful update to last year's Life Jacket speaker, which was pretty cool in its own right. This year's version is called the BoomJacket, which boasts double the battery life of its predecessor along with increased connectivity range. It can also be used as a portable charger for your other devices, though we don't have any specs on that just yet.
Take a look at some of the stuff Altec Lansing did to the Life Jacket, which is now the older model. Explosives, trucks, water, sand, dirt, etc. are no match for it.
The BoomJacket, which is 7.5" x 3.125" x 2.825" in size, has two 2" neodymium drivers and passive radiators (downsized from the Life Jacket's 2.5" drivers) while supporting aptX audio output.
Apple's platform has long been the king when it comes to music performance and production apps, but that might be changing. Algoriddim has developed a version of the popular djay 2 turntable app for Android, and you can buy it today. Not only that, but Algoriddim says it has managed to deal with Android's famous audio latency issues in this app, making it suitable for all your turntable needs.
People use Twitter to share just about everything: mundane thoughts, witty commentary, pictures of food, and their favorite sounds. That last bit is the only part of this list that requires a user to jump away from the app. Now the company is addressing that. Twitter has rolled out Audio Cards, a way for users to stream music and other sounds directly within the Android app.
The experience is not all that dissimilar to how Twitter handles images. When someone shares audio, a thumbnail gets embedded beneath their tweet. Clicking on that image will enlarge the card and start playing. Users can then dock the card so that they can continue to peruse their feeds while the audio plays.
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.
Now here's the thing, customers who have already got things up and running using a Sonos Bridge should just leave everything as it is.