Philips Launches Android-Docking Speakers

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 Stamford, Conn. - Philips launched what could be the industry's first Android-docking tabletop speaker systems.

Three Fidelio-series models designed to dock with Android smartphones and Android tablets are shipping this month to T-Mobile, Best Buy, and Amazon, and one of the SKUs is shipping to RadioShack, a Philips spokesperson told TWICE.

The three models are the $89.99-suggested AS111, a disc-shaped AC-only model with 360-degree sound dispersion; the $129.99 AC/DC AS351; and the AC-only $199.95 AS851.

All three are based on some of the company's Fidelio iPod/iPhone-dedicated speaker systems, but the Android versions use microUSB port to dock and charge an Android smartphone while using stereo Bluetooth to play back the smartphone's music. The docks will accommodate most Android phones, the company said.

None of the docks is built to physically hold an Android tablet, but an Android tablet can be connected via USB cable to a rear USB port for charging. Music would stream via stereo Bluetooth from the tablet to the speaker.

All three models feature sliding pin connectors that enable a docked smartphone's display to be positioned in the center of the speaker system even if the phone's microUSB port is located off to one side. A phone will dock in portrait mode if the phone's microUSB port is on the bottom of the phone, and the phone will dock in landscape mode if its microUSB port is on one of the phone's sides. The pin connector is flexible enough to allow smartphones to dock when protected by a protective case, a spokesperson added.

The $89 and $129 models feature on/off, play/pause, and next/previous controls to control the Android phones and tablets via Bluetooth's AVRCP (audio video remote control profile) capability. The top model adds an IR remote. All are shielded to prevent interference with a phone's cellular circuitry, and all feature 3.5mm analog aux in to connect any other device but not control or charge it.

All models are available with free downloadable Fidelio app that enables automatic Bluetooth pairing when an Android device is connected to the speakers. The app also delivers more than 7,000 Internet radio stations, adds alarm-clock functionality, and makes it possible to "like" a song whose title can be posted to Facebook. A free Songbird app from Philips makes it possible to use the phone's Wi-Fi to sync songs with a PC also loaded with Philips Songbird software, a spokesperson said.

The $199 AS851 features 30 watts of total output, while the AS351 features 10 watts and the AS111 four watts.

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