Apr 27 AT 10:51 AM Russell Holly 8 Comments

The future of mobile audio; a look at what’s to come.

As our smartphones get bigger, better, faster, and just plain MORE, we’re going to see repetitive innovation. I say repetitive because the tech is already there, it’s just smaller now. One such example of this innovation is High Definition audio on mobile devices. The next generation of Android phones will have features like stereo speakers and support for much higher quality audio codecs, bringing your multimedia experience much closer to that which you would expect from a high-end laptop. In fact, the companies that fought the PC audio war seem to have picked up their game right where they left off, just taking the fight to the mobile space. So, with all this audio innovation happening all around us, what will it mean for consumers?

It’s probably important to look at the gladiators of this arena, and what is being brought to the table. At the moment, there are two major organizations interested in delivering better audio to your ear holes, and they’ve already started bringing their tech into our world. DTS, for example, has brought it’s “DTS Ultra Mobile” audio software to Huawei and LG for use in their handsets. The LG G2x, for example, has been hailed in several reviews as being able to deliver amazingly high quality audio via both the built-in speakers and by plugging in a set of headphones. On the other side of this fight is SRS Labs, who recently engaged in a deal with Qualcomm where their WOWHD software will be implemented not only on future handsets, but also offer limited versions of the software to existing Snapdragon devices. Qualcomm’s Dual Core developer device is fully equipped with this, and includes stereo speakers on the handset to help developers get the most out of their apps. The Droid Incredible 2, being released later this week, will be the first of the Snapdragon phones to offer the full WOWHD audio enhancing software, and limited versions of this software can be found on the HTC Thunderbolt as well.

Of the many questions I have in the interest of determining which delivers a more superior audio experience, I want to know that the creators of this software have developers in mind. For example, SRS Labs has helped develop OpenSLES, allowing Android app developers to build hardware accelerated 3D audio right into their app, and have it be supported natively by Android. At the moment, there’s little information available regarding how developer-friendly DTS Ultra Mobile is, or whether it is Open Source like many of Dolby’s other Mobile audio enhancers.

As a consumer, I remain unconvinced that this division would weigh in when it comes to choosing a handset. Like with laptops, audio is often pretty low on the list of concerns raised by those making the purchase. However, for the audiophiles out there, and for early adopters eager to have the best, the choice between DTS Ultra Mobile and WOWHD may become a deciding factor as more and more devices adopt these technologies. I, for one, am happy to see growth in this area, making sure that every day these little phones become full entertainment centers.

I write things.

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  • http://Website LG G2x Audio Sucks

    Only one problem with the audio on the new LG G2x- it frikkin SUCKS.

    I was an original G1 pre-order Android user, and have been holding out for years to get a dual core.

    I used my G1 for playing music in my car and via headphones every single day- streaming rhapsody + mog as well as using the built in player (but usually rhapsody, since its just easier)

    So when I got my G2x, I expected to be really impressed with the dualcore speed in the Rhapsody app, as well as the enhanced 4G streaming speeds.. not to mention finally having a real 3.5mm audio jack.

    What I DIDNT EXPECT, however, was to experience a *very noticeable* loss in gain coming off the audio jack.

    I noticed it RIGHT AWAY. I floored the media volume (and every other volume on the phone) and streamed some music from Rhapsody, but it was a murmur in volume compared to what i was used to on my G1 (which is weak still compared to an iPod in audio gain)

    I could freaking believe it- was my cord not plugged in all the way?

    The sound coming off the LG was about 25% less gain, and had a treblier, tinnier sound.

    I started doing some direct comparisions- same soung, same source…

    plug in the G1 = LOUD and punchy.
    plug in the LG = less loud, less punchy.

    I tried this with MOG

    I tried this with Rhapsody

    I tried this with the stock android player using the same exact file
    (and yes I turned on that stupid DTS Ultra thing- made a minimal difference)

    I tried it with a pair of good headphones as well.

    bottom line is- if you like AUDIO – the LG G2X is going to bring you backwards.

    I’m taking this thing back JUST over that one problem, because there’s no way I’m gonna have my car stereo cranked to 60 just to eek out hearing some song while driving on the freeway.

    What a dealbreaker!

    I really reeeeeally wanted to like this phone, but god, that sucks- what were they thinking?

    Only thing I havent tried is using a different physical G2x (maybe mine is faulty) but I highly doubt that’s it, and I’m testing that this week anyway.

    Probably gotta go with the Sensation now..

    • http://Website Frank

      I would suggest trying a different music player instead of the stock one. MixZing is a really good one with a gain control on the e.q. to help out with the volume being low. Just a suggestion..give a try. Hope it helps :)

  • http://Website Alex

    My android phone is my audio device I can’t wait for this.i hope the new mytouch has it

  • http://www.Facebook.com/MULA951 Oskar

    I was just thinking about this the other! I hate how everything on these phones speakers don’t have bass on them! And this post just made my day! All I want is a little bass to them! Just want to hear the song the way it was intended to be! :’)

  • http://Website Sal

    what model is the headset in the picture above????? neone knows?

    • http://Website Angie

      Just a free stock photo I found. I tried to go back and find it again but its like it disappeared! Most images from that site don’t have good details on the content tho. Sorry, I tried!

      • http://Website Sal

        Thanks for trying, i just liked the headset but its not a big deal…

        • http://www.autosaidaa.com MS

          as the picture shows, it’s that kind of internet chat headset with the mic…a very cheap model.