With my music in the cloud and freed from the tyrannical clutches of iTunes, I next turned to the question of how to make it truly portable, especially how to get it on the boat. I juiced the memory on my HTC EVO smartphone to 32 gb with a miniSD card and find that I’m running either the Amazon Cloud Player when on the household wifi, downloading stuff locally for playback on the phone when I’m in the middle of Nantucket Sound and too far away from the cell towers, or streaming from Last.fm when I’m too lazy to deal with setlists of my own stuff.
When I was a iPod person I had one of those iPod dock things — an expensive Bose thing that required a wall socket. Battery powered portable speakers are generally terrible, but the New York Times recently reviewed a bunch of wireless Bluetooth speakers and I went with David Pogue’s recommendation for the Soundmatters FoxL unit. It’s not cheap — I paid close to $200 on Amazon — but it uses a rechargeable Li-Ion battery and cranks very loud volumes when needed. Oh, and did I say it’s wireless? This means no proprietary slot connector for the iPod/iPhone, just a discoverable Bluetooth connection that I can hit with my Thinkpad, iPad, the wife and kid’s iPhones or my Android EVO. The range is decent, but anything beyond 15 feet gives it some issues.
My favorite application for the unit is to tether it to my iPad while I’m watching Red Sox games when I’m on the road in NYC. I am tired of having ear buds jammed into my ears for hours and love the freedom to prop the iPad up and just watch it like the tiny television it was meant to be.
Three weeks and I am very happy with this portable sound solution. The unit is solid, small, and very easy to set up and use. The sound is excellent. This toy is definitely moving into the category of favorite things. Now to figure out cloud music in the car and life will be complete.