Parrot, a company that sees Bluetooth as the way of the future, has launched a Bluetooth enabled speaker system that allows you to stream music direct from a Bluetooth mobile phone or device such as a laptop and share the music around the room.
With more mobile phones becoming MP3 players the concept isn't as mad as you might think.
The speakers in question aren't some pokey tinny portable offering that you'll expect to pack in your suitcase to take on holiday, but a fully fledged Hi-Fi built speaker with 32-bit 208MHz processor, an MP3 and SBC decoder, a built-in digital two-channel Class-D amplifier with a 60W output, a digital graphic equalizer and a digital crossover for separating the mid-bass and treble frequencies.
For the techies out there, the new speakers include the latest version of Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR radio standard, which offers a data rate of 3Mbps.
The speakers work by connecting to each other first (via Bluetooth) and then to a phone or laptop that supports the new A2DP Bluetooth protocol.
For those just getting the grasp of Bluetooth and believing that it has one version, sorry, time to think again.
Standing for Advanced Audio Distribution Profile, A2DP defines how high quality audio (stereo or mono) can be streamed from one device to another over a Bluetooth connection. For example music streamed from a mobile phone to a wireless headset.
This unfortunately means that it's not going to work with every phone available whether it's got Bluetooth or not (although Parrot offer a list on their website), in fact we tried it with a number of Bluetooth enabled handsets before striking lucky with the Samsung D600, X820 and Sony Ericsson Walkman 810i. It's not the end of the world, just something that you have to consider when it comes to making sure you're phone will work.
Get past whether or not your phone is compatible and in practice we found it as easy as pairing a headset when it came to getting the speakers to work.
Volume and controls are all done via the mobile phone or MP3 player and the speakers are just left to do what they do best, produce the sound. There are individual volume controls on the speakers, along with removeable grills, but you don't really need to get too involved.
An RCA line-in input is also available for all non-Bluetooth audio sources, such as CD players, tuners, stereo systems and older computers.
The Bluetooth element may be a gimmick, but speakers' performance certainly isn't, and as a set of speakers we found these to be very good. Of course audiophiles are going to shout and tell us that information will be lost over the wireless transfer blah blah blah, but that's not what its really about. I mean if you're that bothered you aren't going to be playing tracks from your mobile phone.
A world almost void of wires is certainly something worth getting excited about, we say almost because you'll still need to plug each speaker into the wall for power, but at least unlike some Bluetooth speaker solutions there isn't a wire between the two speakers.
While expensive, we like what's on offer from Parrot.