Version 1.4 of the Android Wear app started rolling out late Friday. The theme of this update, at least for what's currently live, is a set of changes to the Settings screen. There are a couple of new options, but they come at the expense of the battery stats screen. A look under the hood also shows that a few other features are either live or in the works for the next Wear OS update.
I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to review the V5PF (Play-Fi) Wireless Speaker from Wren. The sound quality was absolutely immaculate, and everything about the physical product more than justified its fairly high price tag. The one unfortunate dark spot in the nearly perfect experience came from software – an Android app built by DTS to run its proprietary Play-Fi protocol. It was ugly, amateurish, and unreliable. Two years have passed, and Wren has released the V5US, a new model that not only fixes some minor issues from previous products, but it also combines the features of its three existing variants to produce a single speaker with support for Play-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth.
Sonos' brand name has become synonymous with expensive streaming speakers, and the company is still riding its success in making this vision of connected audio equipment mainstream. Its latest speaker is the PLAY:5, a six-driver unit with dedicated amplifiers, touch controls, and a pairing system that lets you assign two units as left and right channels for a stereo sound effect. The PLAY:5 also has an accelerometer on board that recognizes the position it's placed in (horizontal, vertical on its right side or left side), and adjusts the sound and tuning so it's perfect for this configuration.
There's no exact availability date on the PLAY:5, except "this year," but price should be set at $499 in the US and €579 in Europe.
You can get a Jambox Bluetooth speaker on Amazon, but that requires Jambox money. Folks who dig the style but want something a bit less expensive can get a different music-pumping rectangular box for nearly a fifth of the price. The SoundBot SB571 wireless Bluetooth speaker is available for just $25, which you can reduce down to $20 if you enter the coupon code Q4NERSFR at checkout.
The speaker comes with a built-in audio line, so you're able to plug in devices that aren't able to pair over Bluetooth. There's also a built-in mic, so you can use the thing as a speakerphone. A 1000mAh battery powers it all.
A manufacturer really has to go out of its way to make a portable speaker that isn't Bluetooth all that compelling. It's bad enough most of us still have to plug in our phones to charge—you still want me to plug something into the headphone jack and leave my phone lying there just to listen to music?
But the GOgroove Pal Bot is adorable enough to compromise for. It's shaped like an Android, and at the very least, it's good enough to sit at the corner of your desk and use as a paperweight. We've seen its price drop before, but now it's available for a measly $10 on Newegg.
Brace yourselves...summer is coming. (That's the saying, right? Yeah.) You know what that means: vacations, camping, time outside of the house, and other stuff. And you know what THAT means: your devices are going to need more juice than ever and you're going to need a way to blast some music while doing your thing outside.
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Happy Monday AP readers! What's this, you're not happy!? A bad case of the Monday blues? Well, had you been listening to some sweet tunes this morning while you were getting ready for work, you might be in a better mood now. If you need an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker to jam out with while you brush your teeth and shave your face (or legs, or back, or whatever else you shave), then you should check out this deal.
In its latest Gold Box Deal of the Day, Amazon is offering up to 80% off a number of Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle Bluetooth speakers. Two models are up for grabs. One is a water and dust resistant device rated iPX-5. It can last for up to 15 hours of playtime and comes reduced from $129.99 to $34.99.
If you don't particularly plan to use this thing by the pool or on the beach, you can opt for the cheaper variant that's going for $19.99, down from a regular price of $99.99. With up to 12 hours of playtime from a single charge, it doesn't last quite as long, but again, you're getting this for nearly half the cost of the aforementioned option.
The Pal Bot is a wired speaker, not a Bluetooth speaker, which is probably why it's usually sold for only $30. It features a compact stereo speaker setup with a passive subwoofer crammed into its 4.8" tall body.
Google's inexpensive Chromecast is already popular for streaming audio from sources like Play Music and Pandora to your television, but now it looks like the company wants a more specific approach for music. To that end Google has announced "Cast for audio," an audio-only version of the system that streams directly to connected and certified speaker systems, no extra hardware required. The first compatible speakers should reach the market in the spring of this year.
Cast for audio utilizes the same simple interface and remote connection as Chromecast: simply tap the "cast" button on your phone, tablet, or browser tab, and the content will be sent over the local network to the speaker, at which point it pulls down the music directly from the Internet.