I've been on a bit of a headphone kick lately, and have tried out a number of sets from various manufacturers. The only on-ear headphones I've tried during this time, though, have been AKG's K 830 BT's, the company's only high fidelity Bluetooth headphones. Bluetooth headphones remain a relatively young technology, and have been growing steadily as more and more computers and smartphones adopt the A2DP Bluetooth audio transmission standard.
Before seeking out a few companies to find the best Android-friendly headphones around, I had never heard of Etymotic Research. Apparently, they've been around quite a while - since 1983, actually, and were among the first companies to market in-ear headphones to consumers. They actually claim to be the inventors of in-ear headphones (or "canalphones"), though whether or not that's actually true is apparently an object of some controversy.
Anyway, the good folks at ER sent me a pair of their hf2 in-ear headphones with Android-friendly inline controls and microphone, and I have to say, these headphones rock - the sheer difference in sound quality from your standard $30-80 earbuds is mind-blowing.
I wouldn't exactly say it's a secret, but I'm a bit of a closet audiophile. I've reviewed a couple of audio products for Android devices in the past (like portable speakers and headphones), and am always interested in Android-friendly sound solutions.
Today, I'm taking a look at the Philips Fidelio AS851 (yes, that is kind of a lame name), Philips' top-of-the-line Android speaker dock. How can a speaker dock be designed for Android, you ask?
It looks like the touchscreen isn't the only piece of hardware on the Sensation that works when it wants to. Posted today on XDA-Developers, Sensation owner zmfl recounted his experience with the audio signal coming and going on his phone, and having received confirmation of the issue from other members there, enterprisingly figured out the cause of the problem and its solution.
Put simply, the paint around the Sensation's 3.5 mm headphone jack tends to wear away or chip with use.
From what I can tell, most of them aren't unique until we get to the alarms - a few of them are brand new based on my Google searches:
- Fermium.ogg [Audio clip: view full post to listen]
- Hassium.ogg [Audio clip: view full post to listen]
- Neptunium.ogg [Audio clip: view full post to listen]
- Nobelium.ogg [Audio clip: view full post to listen]
The alarm sounds are quite futuristic and magical, instantly reminding me of Tron.
HTC has officially announced the previously-rumored update to the Sensation, dubbed the XE. We heard about it a few weeks ago as the "Special Edition" (or SE), and it looks like the leaked details were spot-on, right down to the Beats Audio integrations.
The press release for the XE touts it provides "the ultimate audio experience." When using the included Beats earbuds (pictured), the phone will switch to a special sound profile, "delivering audio tracks tuned specifically for the headphones."
Other specs of the XE:
- 1.5GHz dual-core CPU
- 4.3" qHD SLCD
- 8MP rear camera, VGA front
- 1080p vidoe recording
- microSD card (8GB or 16GB) in-box
The phone is scheduled to launch in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Asia Pacific later this month.
The elusive Droid Bionic is finally within weeks of release (it should drop September 8th for $299.99), but if you want to pretend you already have one for a moment or if your current boot animation is not a gorgeous fiery bionic eye (is such a thing even possible?), then download this official Droid Bionic boot animation and sound. It won't grow you an extra arm, but it will make you the coolest chap in town (not really).
Sonos is a company well-known in the tech industry for their line of wireless speaker systems, designed to let you sling music around your house without the hassle of complex setup processes or routing wires through ceilings and walls. To mark the launch of their Sonos Controller for Android application, Sonos generously loaned me a full multi-room system consisting of two Sonos S5 speaker units and a wireless ZoneBridge router.
Are you concerned that not enough of your gadgets are running Android? Well then, we have some good news for you: Nox Audio has decided to show off their latest set of "revolutionary" headphones, the Admiral Touch. In addition to everything you would expect from a set of wireless headphones (including a retractable mic), they have one particularly interesting feature: they're running Android 2.1 on a 2.4" LCD screen attached to the right cup, powered by an ARM11 processor with 256 MB of RAM.
An Issue of Volume
From the day I eagerly removed the cellophane wrapping around the artful, Google-themed box which contained my Nexus One, I have had only one real gripe with Android: volume management. For a while I just dealt with it - the only way to adjust in-call volume was during a call, and other volume settings had to be controlled via the sound settings menu, or in their proper context.