Philips has introduced the world's first Android compatible speaker docks, designed to work with smartphones and tablets.
There are hundreds of iPod and iPad docks around, but until recently Android phone owners have had to play music connecting via the line-in port, or opted for Bluetooth enabled docks for streaming music.
The huge growth of Android over the last few months encouraged Philips to develop the products, realising that a huge segment of the market was being ignored. A segment which Philips predicts to double in the next three years.
Three docks are being introduced, each of which includes unique patented ‘Flexidock’ micro USB connection for charging and docking, which is of course compatible with all Android handsets. The Flexidock slides up and down to accommodate the location of the port - whether it’s on the bottom like the Samsung Galaxy S2 or the side like the HTC Wildfire S.
Designed to be used with the three docks is the free Fidelio Android app, this enables automatic Bluetooth pairing the moment the phone is docked; Internet Radio and the Songbird Music player.
The star of the show is the Philips Fidelio AS851 (£199), a high-performance dock designed for use in the living room. The output is 30 Watts and it includes Philips Digital sound processing to reduce distortion and includes a remote control. This model shares the same chassis as the Philips Fidelio DS8500 iPod dock.
We’ve got a sample in the office at the moment and we’ve been playing with it a bit this morning, using a Samsung Galaxy Note. We’ll bring you a full review in due course, but the Flexidock works well, pairing instantly and we could carry on using the phone across the room, although we did notice this did increase the speed of battery drain. When you receive a message, the notifications is heard through the phone and the dock.
Next up is the mid-range Fidelio AS351 (below left £129). It has 10 Watt output and includes a Dynamic Bass Boost to help preserve low tones. Finally the Philips Fidelo AS111 (£70) is an entry-level product designed to be used as a bedside dock, with a 360-degree speaker.
The company also confirmed to Recombu that it is working on an ‘Airplay equivalent’ Android Wireless HiFi docks in 2012.
Interesting by including a microUSB port, the docks are also compatible with Blackberry handsets, although of course you won’t be able to access app features.
The docks are all available today from 20 Dixons group stores (including PC World) and some selected online retailers from today, find out more from Philips.