The Mobile World Congress 2016, in Barcelona, is the place chosen to unveil “exciting” developments in mobile devices, while the world waits for Apple to unveil the latest iPhone. But at least it allows companies like DTS to actually have smartphones and tablets featuring advanced audio technologies such as Headphone:X immersive processing and Play-Fi wireless home audio.
At the Mobile World Congress 2016, new smartphones and tablets are being unveiled by every single Asian manufacturer. And since no one knows yet how the iPhone 7 is going to look like, and all the usual companies already copied the iPhone 6 design, there is not exactly much to report from Barcelona, except that there are many new Android smartphones all looking the same as last year (some actually are even uglier…). Inside, they added the latest SnapDragon chips and upgraded the camera and generic specs just because they have to. Surprisingly, many of the companies even forgot to add USB Type-C to their new designs, which means there will be a short replacement cycle for these models. Depending on the company, some paid more attention to the screen, while others are actually promoting better audio capabilities.
And that’s exactly where DTS is finding excellent acceptance for their latest audio technologies for mobile devices. We can in fact say that immersive audio experiences are regarded by mobile device manufacturers as the second hottest trend, right after virtual reality, which is increasingly where most of these products remain.
At the Barcelona GSMA annual massive gathering, DTS announced the integration of DTS Headphone:X immersive sound technology and DTS Play-Fi whole-home audio technology into a mobile handset for the first time with the launch of the Acer Liquid Jade 2 smartphone (pictured). Additionally, the Gionee S8 and Phicomm Passion 25 smartphones will also feature DTS Sound technology.
Liquid Jade 2, the latest addition to Acer’s flagship line (believe it or not!), delivers a full-featured smartphone experience hindered by the latest Android operating system. For the first time in any mobile handset, DTS Headphone:X and Play-Fi technologies are both incorporated in the Liquid Jade 2 smartphone as built-in, system-level drivers. This allows users to easily access and use the features with any and all applications on the phone directly from the system settings menu. DTS Sound and DTS Premium Sound are also integrated in the Liquid Jade 2, providing users with the ultimate audio experience from their smartphone.
“As we continue to integrate our innovative audio solutions into a growing number of devices around the world, including Acer’s Liquid Jade 2 smartphone, we are fulfilling our promise to deliver a premium sound experience to as many people as possible on every imaginable platform,” says Jon Kirchner, chairman and CEO of DTS, Inc. “DTS is dedicated to sound, and we will continue to work hard to enhance the music, movie and gaming experience of listeners wherever they are consuming their entertainment.”
Even though Acer’s new flagship is far from being the most powerful phone, it it will at least have the chance of being used to demonstrate DTS’s Headphone:X technology, serving to show how immersive 3D sound experiences are possible even with an average pair of headphones or earbuds, and how immersive audio adds another positive dimension to games and movies.
On a more interesting application, DTS Play-Fi technology, allows users to stream audio from any app or any file in lossless quality over standard Wi-Fi to one or more Play-Fi-enabled speakers and components. In addition to providing perfect multi-room synchronization of music, Play-Fi also provides lip sync A/V synchronization technology to allow users to watch videos on their phone and enjoy audio from Play-Fi-enabled speakers with zero lag between sound and picture. This is available on the Acer Liquid Jade 2 smartphone, as well.
The DTS Play-Fi ecosystem already features wide industry support with whole-home wireless audio products available from brands such as Anthem, Definitive Technology, MartinLogan, McIntosh, Paradigm, Phorus, Polk Audio and Wren. Those solutions are able to operate together seamlessly without the constraints of a single-brand system, and allow streaming from some of the world’s most popular music services, including Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Prime Music, Rhapsody, SiriusXM and Tidal, as well as thousands of Internet radio stations and listeners’ personal music libraries on any supported product. Why would anyone want to pair an Acer Liquid Jade 2 with a McIntosh system is another question…
The Acer Liquid Jade 2 smartphone will be available beginning Q2 2016. Exact specifications, prices and availability will vary by region (most probably many telecom operators will sell it with their own brands as part of their rebate promotions).
DTS Sound, featured in the new Gionee S8 (Gionee Communication Equipment Co) and Phicomm Passion 25 (Shanghai Feixun Communication) smartphones, is a stereo audio post-processing suite that provides bass and intelligent volume leveling for dialog, along with onboard speaker correction, to enhance a mobile device’s built-in sound system for optimal audio quality and performance. In addition to the Acer, Phicomm and Gionee announcements, DTS showcased a variety of devices at its Mobile World Congress booth incorporating its audio solutions, including:
Asus ZenPad Z580C tablet with DTS-HD Premium Sound technology (pictured)
Gionee M5 Plus smartphone with DTS Sound technology.
Huawei Mate 8 smartphone with DTS Sound technology.
Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum wireless headset with DTS Headphone:X technology.
Nubia Z9 mini smartphone with DTS Sound technology.
Turtle Beach Stealth 450 wireless headset with DTS Headphone:X technology.
TRITTON Katana HD 7.1 wireless headset from Mad Catz with DTS Headphone:X technology.
All in all, one of the most impressive displays of the most horrendous industrial designs in mobile devices and plastic headsets, benefiting from reasonably decent audio.