One advantage that iPhone owners have over their Android counterparts is the wide range of hardware available, particularly music docks. This is mainly because of the varying connectivity solutions that different Android phone manufacturers employ. Recently, they have at least all started using Micro USB, although different phones have them located in different places and different ways around!
Philips, last year, announced 3 different docks for Android phones that solves this problem. It has a Micro USB connection but it’s on a sliding and rotating hinge that should be able to hold any modern Android phone. The models start with the bedside AS11, the larger, portable AS351 and the large and not-so-portable AS851. All of them connect via Bluetooth and boast superb sound output.
Unsurprisingly, I was interested.
However, there was something that kept coming up in reviews that bothered me. You have to use a Philips Fidelio specific App to use the dock and people, generally, didn’t like it.
So, before spending quite a sum of money I installed the app from Google Play and gave it a try. And I’m glad I did.
First of all, the app is intrusive. It launches every time you dock the phone. And by “dock” I mean any USB connection including just charging it. Also, it insists you use its own choice of Apps for playback – in particular, Songbird for playing music.
Everybody has their own preferences, and I’m no different. The music player I currently use was chosen for a number of reasons but particularly the fact that I can specify which folders it should fetch music from. I have a Soundboard App which stores a lot of audio files in separate folders – most music apps will read these and add them to my lists of “albums”, something I don’t want. Songbird, is not different, and flooded my album and song lists with tracks that I don’t want on there. In addition it takes over my headset control, which I currently have set up for controlling my podcast playback.
So, I don’t want Songbird. And the Fidelio app doesn’t give me a choice.
Why Philips would do this I don’t know. It’s nice to have a dedicated dock menu where you can choose apps from but it would be nicer if it simple launched the apps that you, the user, wanted.
Sadly, the app is still on a very minor version so it looks as if Philips aren’t doing much with it.
But, if you’re a fan of Song Bird then I’d suggest trying out the Fidelio app beforehand and, if you can live with it, then the Fidelio speakers look great. Otherwise, I’d recommend looking at something such as the Creative
One final thing that’s worth noting is that Android currently doesn’t support music via USB but Philips have stated that, when they do, their dock can also, via a firmware update. Bluetooth sound is not fantastic, no matter how good the speakers themselves are so this ability will really benefit these devices – again, this is another advantage that the iPhone has.