A long time ago, Sony Electronics had a reputation for stubborn adherence to its own proprietary formats. Back when the iPod was just an MP3 player, Sony was still trying to promote its own ATRAC standard that was only available on its own hardware. ATRAC itself was a descendant of MiniDisc, another semi-proprietary format that tried to usurp the CD... not long after Sony had lost the BetaMax war. The company doesn't always lose - Blu-ray is a notable exception - but it doesn't learn very quickly, either. Read More
The saga of speaker support on Android Wear has been a long one. First we spotted the speaker inside the Huawei Watch despite no mention of it in any product documentation, then the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE was released with calling and speaker support only to be quickly canceled by LG, then Google officially announced cellular support on Wear without explaining how the speaker would work in that case, and finally a test build of Wear made it onto a user's device with an activated speaker for calls, alerts, and speech-to-text. Read More
Fair play to Huawei for including a speaker on its self-titled Android Wear watch long before the software actually supported it. That being said, I'm sure Huawei Watch owners are wondering when their expensive gadget will have all of its parts activated so they can stop carrying around an extra quarter-ounce of extraneous electronics. According to multiple sources, that speaker will be activated soon, specifically whenever Google gets around to issuing the next version of Android Wear's firmware.
A user on Reddit says that he or she is currently using a test build of Android Wear on the Huawei Watch, and that the speaker is active with the new software installed. Read More
With the unveiling of the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, we knew that cellular and speaker capabilities were coming to Android Wear. Yesterday, Google officially announced cellular support and explained how the feature will let you use your watch without being near a phone. However, missing from that post were details about whether or not the watch will communicate back to you using its speaker and whether other watches with speakers will also be able to do the same.
Cody's teardowns of various Google apps yesterday revealed the underlying basis for speaker support on Android Wear. We know that Play Music will likely let you play music through the speaker and Google's app is ready to implement text-to-speech. But it turns out that Google has already revealed a bit more about speaker functionality on new watches, except it hid it in its Support pages. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More