Google today announced that it has acquired Limes Audio, a Swedish sound company specializing in acoustic echo cancellation and speech enhancement. The move reaffirms Google's intentions to continue improving sound and call quality across its suite of products, particularly in Google Hangouts.
Poor internet connections or noisy environments like coffee shops can have a significantly adverse effect on the audio quality in an online chat, making it hard to understand the person on the other end. Hardware solutions like noise cancelling microphones are designed to filter out ambient noise and today come standard in most mid- to high-end phones, but they do little to reduce echos — and do nothing to address connectivity issues. Read More
You have almost certainly heard the name Harman when it comes to audio products, but the company has spent the last few years getting big into automotive technology as well. That's what piqued Samsung's interest in the company, and now the Korean tech giant is putting a lot of cash on the table to become a player in connected car tech. The $8 billion deal will be Samsung's biggest acquisition to date when it closes. Read More
Jaybird has been one of the most high-profile makers of Bluetooth headphones in recent years. In fact, Logitech bought the company for cash a while back. The Jaybird Freedom earbuds were alright, but not the most well-received product from Jaybird. A lot of people stuck with the Jaybird X2 to see what the X3 looked like. Now, the Jaybird X3 Wireless Sport Headphones are a thing. They'll be out next month for $129.99. Read More
The Chromecast Audio is a great little device, allowing you to stream supported content to any speaker (or anything else really) with audio input. I myself bought one fairly recently, so I could turn my old iPod dock into a WiFi speaker.
Google today dropped the price of the Chromecast Audio down to $25, a whopping $10 lower than the original price. There is no sign of a Chromecast Audio replacement being announced at Google's upcoming October 4th event, so you don't have to worry about buying a soon-to-be-discontinued device. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More