Philips Fidelio AS851 speaker
At last, a dock for your Android phone
Geek Treat of the Week Philips’ Fidelio speakers for iOS - such as the DS9 - have gotten a big thumbs-up from us in the past, and now Philips has released a new range specifically designed for Android devices.
I got my hands on the top-of-the-range Fidelio AS851, which comes in at £200, but there’s also a smaller model called the AS351 priced at £129, and a little bedside jobbie called the AS111 for just 70 quid.
The AS851 docks some - but not all - Android phones
You don’t have to worry about the sound, as the AS851 provides 30W worth of the same warm, detailed sound we’ve come to expect from the Fidelio range. However, the Android side of things isn’t quite so neat and tidy.
Instead of the Apple dock connector, the AS851 plonks a micro USB port onto the front of the unit so that you can connect and charge your Android phone or tablet. Not all Android devices use micro USB, so there’s a full-size USB port on the back for charging devices, such as my Dell Streak, that use a proprietary connector – although using the rear port does rather defeat the point of buying an Android-specific speaker in the first place.
Clip your phone or tablet onto the speaker's micro USB jack
Worse, neither of those USB ports carries an audio signal, so the Fidelio uses Bluetooth to stream music in from your phone or tablet. Philips tells me that you can only pair your Android device with the Fidelio by using the Fidelio Android app – which would have barred any non-Android devices altogether.
However, I had no trouble pairing my iPhone with the Fidelio, which means that the Fidelio is really just a bog-standard Bluetooth speaker with a micro USB jack on the front.
There's a full-size USB port round the back - and a 3.5mm analogue input too
But, to be fair, it’s a very nice Bluetooth speaker indeed - and one that also happens to be about £50 cheaper than its iOS counterpart.
However, you should probably pop along to PC World or Currys – the exclusive retailers at the moment – to check that its micro USB dock will fit your Android phone or tablet before buying the Fidelio rather than any other set of Bluetooth speakers. ®
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You can live in a world where everyone drives a Volkswagen "The peoples car" or you can live in a world with a huge range of cars from minis to formula 1 racers and just make do with the fact that some don't have cigarette lighters.
Yet again, they missed a trick.....
...I have a wind up phone charger that cost about £10. It works with about 50% of phones out of the box. For others you buy the adapters.
So here's an idea to Philips (and others)
1. Make a set of speakers with Philips Plug that carries power + audio (and maybe even video?)
2. Make a set of phone specific adapters, bundle a few most popular ones, including "Generic" as built into this.
3. Sell other ones for a nominal price. e.g £5 - £10.
There, not hard is it.
So...this only works...
...if your phone's micro usb connector is on the bottom of the device, by all appearances.
Just make a cone out of card for 50p instead.
"You can live in a world where everyone drives a Volkswagen <snip>or you can live in a world with a huge range of cars from minis to formula 1 racers and just make do with the fact that some don't have cigarette lighters."
...or have foot operated steering and dashboard-mounted accelerator, clutch and brake pedals...