Philips Fidelio finally goes Android
Philips has done what many Android-using audio fans have been hoping for, and brought out a set of Fidelio docks specially designed to fit smartphones and tablets running Google's mobile OS.
There are three to choose as part of this new arm of the high-end dock range and each relies on positioning a flexible micro USB connector in the centre of the player so it'll fit your device no matter where the port happens to be. Philips is describing this unique connector as, "adjustable in three dimensions to hold any phone in both portrait and landscape positions" but quite how this looks, works or comes off, we'll have to wait until we get an Android Fidelio in our hands on the IFA 2011 show floor.
Now, while that might sound like the tricky design part out of the way for Philips, it's, in fact, only half the equation. It's not possible to send audio out via the micro USB port on Android devices, so the dock connector is only for purposes of power. The way around the problem, as chosen by the Royal Dutch, is to send the sound over Bluetooth. To save you all frustration and tedium that the short range technology often involves, there's a dedicated Fidelio app on the Android Market which will pair your device automatically as well as sync your Songbird Player music collection and provide internet radio too.
The big boy of this docking bunch is the Philips Fidelio AS851, which is essentially the sister product to the iPhone-compatible DS8500. As such, you get the same 30W RMS output through 2 x 3-inch woofers within a rather fetching, metal-backed, sculpted chassis; reminiscent of a modern day take on the gramophone. Inside is a solid wooden cabinet with the drives firmly facing forward and the bass pipes vented to the rear for what should be a nice, tight sound.
If you can't afford that one, or you just want something more portable, then the smaller Fidelio for Android, the AS351, gives you the choice to use battery power instead of mains; although there's no word yet to quite how many cells you'll need to stuff inside and just how long they'll last you.
There's a healthy enough 10W RMS power output as well as a special shielding technology to block out mobile phone bleeps and cheeps working their way into the audio stream. As with the AS851, Philips has also kindly included an AUX-in slot so you can plug in pretty much any audio source you choose, Android or otherwise.
Last of all is your bedside buddy, in the form of Philips Fidelio AS111. It's a circular based dock with omni-directional sound, courtesy of the neodynium speakers built-in, and there's also a little clock so that your bleary eyes can confirm that it's time to get up even if your brain and under-eye bags tell you otherwise.
The Philips Fidelio AS851 will launch in Europe at 199 euros, the AS351 at 129 euros and the AS11 at 79 euros.
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