speaker

Update: It appears the sales price for the JBL J55 Headphones is $29.95 while supplies last.  

Update 2:  The $29.95 sales price was the door buster price.  The sales price has jumped to $49.95, while remaining supplies last.

Day Eleven has arrived for Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals promotion with the savings spotlight being cast on the JBL J55 On-Ear Headphones.  It may not be as exciting of a deal as yesterday’s free AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520, but if you are in the market for a Bluetooth speaker, it could save you a few bucks.

As with all the 12 Days of Deals specials, the sale begins at 7am PST/10am EST.  We expect the first twenty customers at participating Microsoft Stores (US/Canada) and the first one hundred online customers should be able to pick the JBL Headphones for a steal of a price.  After the initial door buster deals are gone, the headphones will be priced at a considerable savings while supplies last.

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We’ve seen the JBL PowerUp speaker featuring NFC, wireless charging and Bluetooth streaming for you Windows Phone 8 device before, and we’ve even seen it go on sale too (last time was back in May).

Well, if you have an extra $149 to spare, you can head down to your AT&T Store (or order online) to pick one up in black as it is discounted again. That’s a “savings” of 50% as the device normally retails for around $300 (even though it often sells for much lower).

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The JBL Nokia PowerUp speaker, much like the Lumia 920, is hard to find these days with supplies running low from many retailers. In fact, cyan and white versions of the pricey accessory are quite rare with black being a lot easier to purchase.

Ours just showed up today so we figured we would give you a quick unboxing and our initial thoughts on the experience. The JBL Nokia PowerUP packs two 10W  2.5” full range drivers, Qi wireless charging, NFC for instant pairing and of course Bluetooth 2.1 streaming all for $250-299, depending on where you go.

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We just ordered a JBL-Nokia PowerUp speaker last night but we're kicking ourselves now as Verizon has a great deal for the black version. While locations like AT&T and some online retailers are selling the monster speaker for $299, Verizon has it for just $249.99. That $50 savings is nothing to sneeze at as it makes the Nokia accessory a little bit more in reach for those considering it.

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PlayUp - The new JBL-Noka portable speaker with NFC

[Updated with new images and Nokia link]

Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Nokia’s own Chris Weber have revealed that JBL and Nokia are getting together for some new NFC-enabled mobile speakers called PlayUp.

Much like the Play360 currently on the market from Nokia, the new JBL-Nokia offerings look to improve upon their existing model of high quality portable media speakers. The device is expected to feature NFC and Bluetooth for easy connectivity and since Nokia’s new Lumia lineup will feature NFC, it makes a good pair for retail.

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Boost the sound on Samsung Focus - Take 2

A few weeks ago, we reported on a tweak to boost the sound on the Samsung Focus (as if it wasn't loud enough). Turns out, we were a little premature as the settings did not stick.

Flash forward 10 days later and looks like the folks at XDA figured it out, so we figured we'd do an update. We also have a new one that boosts the volume when using a headphones (the Focus turns the overall volume down for obvious reasons).

The process is similar: using the Samsung Diagnosis app, enter in some values. Done. For this, we can definitely confirm the headphones are much louder...probably too loud, but you can decide. And both stick after a reboot. Post results in comments or our Focus sub-forum!

Full instructions after the break...

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Review: BlueAnt S4 Bluetooth Speaker

BlueAnt has released its latest Bluetooth Speakerphone, the S4. The S4's main features center around the use of voice commands to enhance the "hands free" experience. While you can still control the speakerphone with buttons, with the S4 you can say "answer" or "ignore" to manage incoming calls.

In addition to offering hands free calling, the S4 also puts BING information at your disposal through BING 411 and allows access to audible text messages by being Vlingo compatible. All in all, the S4 hopes to keep your hands more on the wheel and less on your phone.

We had the opportunity to take the S4 out for a test drive and found it to offer some "cool" features. We also found some features still needed a little work. Follow the break to what type of impression the S4 left.

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App to Port Sound to your Earpiece

 

In our last WMExperts Podcast, we fielded a question from Daniel:

What I don't understand is when you play a video, the sound comes out the back speaker, in the opposite direction of where you are watching. If you are in a noisy room, you have to turn the phone to the back to hear, then, or course, you can't see the video. Is there a hack to get the sound via the front speaker?

In typical WMExperts fashion, we explained how on many phones the earpiece speaker is pretty much designed to work with telephony and not the OS and that the OS often has limited access to that speaker, depending on hardware.  That's not completely the case though (as anybody who's received a text message or email while on a call can attest, the alert sound often comes through the earpiece mid-call).  Lucky for us, listener Slartibartfast has provided a solution via twitter: an app called Audio Router for both WM Pro and WM Standard by Daniel Álvarez.  Álvarez notes another great use for the app:

This is useful for VoIP applications which are quite unusable without headphones since the audio comes from the back speaker. It just runs for 10 minutes and it’s supposed to work at least with the latest HTC models.

Indeed!  This makes apps like Fring a heck of a lot more useful.  We also like that it runs for 10 minutes at a time -- meaning you won't get stuck having your audio permanently ported through your much-quieter front speaker because you forgot the hack was active.  We've confirmed that it works on an HTC Fuze and it should work on plenty of other HTC devices, but as we noted above the ability to do this will vary depending on your hardware, so your mileage may vary.

 

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