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Most Wanted: Android Police's five favorite accessories from 2016

We mobile tech nerds love our accessories, and manufacturers love to sell them to us. Between wearables, VR headsets, and voice-controlled home automation, accessories for smartphones have never been more varied. We've covered and reviewed quite a few this year on Android Police, and here are our picks for the top five.

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Raumfeld adds Chromecast support to all of its WiFi-enabled speakers

German audio firm Raumfeld is known for making some nice (and expensive) speakers with support for streaming services like Spotify and Tidal. Starting today, those speakers also support Chromecast. The update is rolling out to all of Raumfeld's WiFi speakers this very day.

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[Deal Alert] Save $30-50 on all SONOS speakers at multiple retailers until December 31st

SONOS, a company famous for almost never discounting its products, slashed the price of one product - its PLAY:1 entry-level speaker - by 25% for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. The deals that the connected audio company is running for the holiday season aren't quite as dramatic as that one was, but they're generally pretty solid and cover many more products.

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Grace Digital CastDock X2 quick review: A weird little nook for your Chromecast Audio

As a kinda, sorta well-known technology journalist, I get a lot of pitches for hardware to review. More often than not, I just ignore these emails (sorry PR people) because I simply get too many of them. On occasion, someone pitches an interesting thing, and I'll take a closer look at it. Such was the case with the Grace Digital CastDock X2. I thought at first it was a Cast enabled speaker, and I bet that's what you thought just now too. Well, it's not. This is literally a dock for your Chromecast Audio, and that makes it just weird enough to warrant a quick hands-on here.

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[Deal Alert] Wren's V5 Speakers Are On Sale For As Low As $159

Memorial weekend is kicking off in the US and products of all shapes and sizes are going on sale. If you happen to be in the market for a speaker, it might be a great time to check out some of Wren's V5-series bookshelf speakers. Normally priced at between $199-$249 for models with a single connection type, these can be had for just $159 from Amazon, or direct from Wren with a discount code. The huge V5US all-in-one model with Bluetooth, Play-Fi, and Airplay is available for $399 with code.

Back in 2013, I reviewed the V5PF Play-Fi model, and then followed up with the V5US all-in-one model last year.

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[Deal Alert] JBL Charge 2 Bluetooth Speaker Is On Sale For $99.99 Today At Best Buy ($50 Off)

The speakers on your phone are pitiful. I know, some of you have two of them and they're pointed at your face, but compared to almost any other type of device, they still suck. So when you want to listen to some tunes, it benefits you to have better audio options. Like, for example, the JBL Charge 2 Bluetooth speaker. It's on sale at Best Buy today for $99.99.

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Google Cast-Enabled Speakers Will Get Multi-Room Streaming In 2016

Last month Chromecast Audio gained the ability to sync audio playback across multiple devices and multiple rooms. This made the little circular music puck a cheaper alternative to Sonos, a way to fill your home with sound using speakers you already have for an additional $35 per Chromecast.

Plugging in the little dongle is hardly a difficult task, but it's still less sightly than having the functionality built-in. Throughout this year, B&O Play, Harman Kardon, Onkyo, Philips, Pioneer, and Raumfeld will all join Sony and LG in producing Google Cast-enabled speakers. As they roll out, Google will introduce the ability to sync playback across multiple speakers and rooms using them as well, just as you already can with Chromecast Audio.

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[Weekend Poll] How Important Are A Phone's Built-In Speakers To You?

While we touch on the subject of speakers in all of our phone reviews, rarely do we give them a particularly focused or deep analysis. Oftentimes, this is simply because many phones have similarly lamentable audio production on these speakers, with varying degrees of maximum loudness. But as the smartphone has evolved, so too have the speakers inside of them, and a class of phones that quite specifically cater to providing a better speaker experience have emerged.

Perhaps most famously, HTC's BoomSound attempted to brand the concept of dual front-facing speakers - the feature was an absolute cornerstone of the One M7, M8, and M9, and made the devices stand out compared to rivals from the likes of LG and Samsung.

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Samsung Announces Three New Speakers For Their Wireless Audio 360 Lineup, This Time They Aren't Shaped Like Eggs

In advance of IFA, Samsung is promoting a new set of wireless speakers they will show off there. Adding to their product lineup called Wireless Audio 360, this might signal a bit more seriousness on Samsung's part in terms of competing in the consumer speaker market. The R1, R3, and R5 join the R6 and R7, which were announced last year and look like eggs.

Samsung boasts about the design that blasts sound out in every direction, which addresses a fairly common shortcoming for consumer speakers. Unlike the previous generation's models, these will have some physical controls atop each device so you don't need to have access to the source to make adjustments.

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Sony Announces Google Cast-Enabled Speakers And A/V Receivers

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 Electronics - HT-ST9

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.

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