The days of hurling your mobile to the floor as you walk in the door are no more. Philips has come up with a range of new products that ensure you always have somewhere to put your phone: Fidelio docking speakers for Android smart phones, and the ThinkLink home phone that combines landline with iPhone, Android or any smart phone.
We went hands-on with the new gear at Berlin-based technology bunfight IFA, where the great and the good of the technology world have gathered to show off the latest kit.
The Fidelio docking speakers for Android follow the similar speaker systems for Apple devices. The challenge with Android is that every Android phone is different, unlike the iPhone and iPod touch, which are all the same. That means the docking connector, the little nubbin that connects the phone to the dock, can be fixed in place. But how to make a dock that can accommodate the motley assortment of connectors featured in Android devices?
Fortunately, the micro-USB connector is standard on Android smart phones, it's just in different places, and often points in different directions. So Philips employed the high-tech solution of making the connector -- and we're going to have to use some technical terms here, try and stay with us -- slidey-slidey and twisty-turny.
Yes, the connector slides from side-to-side, and also rotates. So just about any Android smart phone -- running Android 2.1 or above -- can be placed into the dock. Whether they sit in upright portrait mode or in lying-down landscape mode depends on the position of the phone's micro-USB: if it's in the bottom, the phone will sit upright, and if it's in the side -- like our Motorola Defy -- it'll lie down.
No matter whether it's standing proud or lying down on the job, your phone will pair with the speakers via Bluetooth and play music via a newly developed Fidelio app for Android.
The biggest speaker set is the AS851, pictured above, a slab of shiny blackness pumping out 30W of sound. The smaller model, pictured above if you click through our photos, is the AS111, designed for the bedside table. In between is the medium-sized AS351.
If you thought the mobile phone was in the process of killing off the landline like a newly hatched cuckoo pushing older eggs out of the nest with the steely resolve of nature's survivor, then think again: it seems your mobile and your landline can live side-by-side with Philips ThinkLink. ThinkLink, besides being all kinds of fun to say, is a home phone that welcomes your iPhone or Android phone with open arms.
You get the comfort and call quality of a home phone, free from the caprice of mobile phone signal, while still having your mobile's contacts and information at your fingertips. One or two mobile phones can be paired via Bluetooth, and you can then make and answer calls from and to your mobydog right from your landline handset as your mobile nestles serenely undisturbed on the grippy rubber pad. Add a wireless charging mat, a la Powermat, and we'd be sold.
There's a built-in micro-USB cable for Android phones or a USB port for you to charge your iPhone. The landline stores 200 contacts, and you can add up to 500 contacts from each mobile. The screen is a dinky 2.4-inch colour affair.
Is a landline and mobile a match made in dog and bone heaven, or an abomination wrapped in a monstrosity that should never be allowed to live? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.