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Summary:

Putting a surface transducer into a charging dock is quite smart, as is the functionality run through an accompanying app.

Stage5 dock speaker

Vibration speakers, or surface transducers, have been around for quite awhile now. Stick one on a table or a window or any flat surface, and it turns that surface into a speaker — the sound quality can be quite poor, depending on the surface material and size, but you can find the principle applied to gadgets from the Rock-It to, er, this thing.

Now a London-based outfit called Rocket Sound Systems has come up with a solid-looking aluminum device called the Stage5, which combines the vibration speaker concept with that of a smartphone or tablet charging dock. I think it’s rather clever, not only because it makes more use of the dock’s desktop real estate, but also because it has features that can be controlled from the Stage5 app.

One of those features is an equalizer. I’d want to hear the thing in action before passing judgment on the utility of such fine-grained control. Users can also set which apps’ notifications they want to hear through the speaker system, and decide whether to use its built-in battery for the speaker or to charge the phone a bit (it won’t do a full charge). Different profiles can also be set for different devices.

The Stage5 dock doesn’t have line-in, but it does have Bluetooth, so it can be used to amplify audio from a music player on the other side of the room. The dock should work nicely with iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices.

A Stage5 Kickstarter campaign was launched for the second time a week ago — the first campaign was cancelled because the team found an investor halfway through that made it possible to cut production prices. At the time of writing on Wednesday, the campaign was just south of its £5,000 ($8,450) goal, so early backers should definitely be getting their docks in September at an early bird price of $75 (the final price will be twice that — a bit stiff, if you ask me, but it ain’t plastic).

  1. I’d want to hear the thing in action before passing judgment on the utility of such fine-grained control http://bit.ly/1i2EnFJ

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