When it comes to audio on-the-go, the consumer market has come full circle over the last several decades: back in the 80s it wasn't uncommon to see kids running around with massive headphones attached to their skulls, rocking out to whatever crap their parents hated the most. Fast-forward twenty years, and it was all about earbuds – stuffing tiny speakers into your ear canals was the only [socially acceptable] way to listen to music.
When I first experienced the NVIDIA Shield's ability to stream games from a PC to the handheld unit wirelessly at CES back in January, I was floored. While it is remarkably similar to the Splashtop game streaming functionality NVIDIA demoed at CES 2012 (which never really came to fruition), Shield streaming feels like an even bigger step forward. This is basically NVIDIA's "look at what we can do" technology - it's what happens when they can have a high degree of control over the gaming experience.
Back in January, we told you about MODO, an incredibly versatile desktop organization system. At the time, it was just a Kickstarter project hoping to find its way into the world of retail; thankfully, enough "Kickstarters" saw the value in it and helped more than double its original $17,000 goal. It's been about four months since project was funded, and MODO is just about ready for prime time. Artem and I have been playing with a couple of production units for the last several weeks, and almost immediately it's difficult to deny the incredibly amount of utility packed into such a simple package.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And when it comes to copying, I have no doubt that the Parrot Ziks will be imitated, reimagined, and otherwise "inspire" a new generation of Bluetooth headphones in the coming years. Yes, they're that different. The Ziks are also, to be blunt, an experimental product. They don't sit on your head very well, and they don't sound fantastic. Even their game-changing features, like the touchpad controls on the right ear housing, aren't quite fully baked yet.
We've covered some of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market over the last few months – everything from small and affordable to large and pricey. But I can promise you that we've never covered anything like the Ultimate Ears (UE) BOOM ($199). It's simply the best Bluetooth speaker I've ever heard, price be damned.
For those who may not be familiar with the BOOM, here's the skinny: it's a cylindrical, 360 degree, plasma coated, waterproof, stain resistant, NFC-enabled speaker.
After a two week stint with the BlackBerry Z10 last month, I happened upon another chance to go across the platform border, this time into the Windows world - with the Nokia Lumia 928.
Microsoft and mobile have had a tumultuous, off-again on-again relationship. However, there is little doubt that MS's smartphone success peaked with Windows Mobile 6, and then very, very rapidly fell off as iOS and Android rolled onto the scene.
The portable Bluetooth speaker market has exploded lately, with new offerings seemingly popping up everyday. Despite this, the guys at Killer Concepts couldn't find something that had all the features they were looking for, so, like any logical human being would, they set out to create their own. The end result was the Rocksteady XS, a speaker that claims to be "louder, clearer, and longer lasting" than the competition. The original iteration brought some interesting features to the table, including a removable/replaceable battery; it also has pause/play/forward/reverse controls directly on the front of the unit, which is something all BT speakers should offer.
We're always looking for new and practical ways to prop tablets up (or otherwise use them without tying up at least one hand). While we've looked at several different tablet stands in the past, we've never seen anything quite like the MonkeyKit ($99) and WhaleKit ($49) for Octa's TabletTail. Before we get into that, though, a little explanation of the TabletTail is in order.
TabletTail itself isn't one particular thing, but rather a series that encompasses a few different components for different uses: the vacuum dock, MonkeyTail, and WhaleTail.
In the last few years, wireless speakers have exploded onto the scene with prices ranging from sub-$100 utility speakers up to a few thousand dollars for large home theater packages. A fairly new competitor, Wren, is trying to place itself in the ever more lucrative high-end bookshelf market. With a lineup of 3 wireless speakers priced at $399 each, the company is trying to take some attention away from the current leader, Sonos.
We don't often throw around the accolade "best" when it comes to product reviews here at Android Police. The dreaded "B" word can land a reviewer in hot water. But if there's one product niche I've been scouring for a long time, it's Bluetooth speakers. There are a vast array of choices out there, many of them quite well known (eg, Jambox), and others, a bit more obscure (like this guy).