RCA Soundflow Is Like NFC Audio For Any Device, Without NFC [CES 2013]

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CES 2013 bug LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – We’re a big fan of wireless Bluetooth speakers like the Jambox, but let’s face it: for most people, they are both too expensive, and too much of a pain in the butt to remember to pair and unpair. When NFC sees broad adoption, the latter will change, and you’ll be able to play from a wireless speaker just by laying it on top of the device.

Why wait for NFC, though? RCA of all companies is here at CES with a super cool new speaker line called the Soundflow, and it can play music from any smartphone or tablet just by laying it on top of the speaker. Best of all? The technology is so cheap that for the price of one Jambox, you could buy five or six Soundflows.

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We stopped by the RCA booth in the Central Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center yesterday, and the Soundstream station caught our eye. The booth proclaimed that Soundflowwould allow you to play music from your iOS or Android device without wires or pairing… but how?

It’s actually really simple. On top of every Soundflow speaker is a small inductive plate that senses vibrations and amplifies them. So what you do is just play a song on your device from its built-in speakers and then lay it down on top of the Soundflow station, which will then play what’s coming from the speakers at a much louder volume.

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How does it sound? Not too bad, although by no means as good as a Jambox. But it doesn’t really have to. The Soundflow alarm clock speaker we looked at, which is due in March will cost just $30, and RCA intends on following it up with a number of other types of Soundstreams, each also extremely affordable. And it works with pretty much anything: tablets, PMPs, iPhones, Android devices, you name it.

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This isn’t cutting-edge tech: it’s tech that has been around for a hundred years, but it’s been made new again by an interesting smart application, and so it feels a little bit like it’s from the future. We’re looking forward to giving a Soundflow a review.

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