Adding Bite to Bluetooth Headphones
The market for headphones has become a monster, with plenty of Beats knock-offs and models of every brand and stripe now crowding store shelves. With nearly every label offering $250 headphones, this year’s CE efforts to carve out a new section of the market are squarely aimed at delivering wireless models.
The coalescence of several features could mean that wireless models are ready to take off this year. Thanks in large part to Bluetooth, there’s now a de facto wireless standard. No more dongles to make a smart phone or tablet connection or worrying about whether shoppers are Android or Apple users. Even AV receivers from the likes of Onkyo, Pioneer and Sony are now boasting built-in Bluetooth.
Furthermore, while wireless sound still can’t match that of corded headsets, it has improved remarkably. And it promises to get better. Bluetooth compression of MP3 tracks can introduce some audio anomalies, but the newer aptX audio codec for Bluetooth does a better job maintaining audio quality over the air and is gaining traction. It’s already supported by Samsung’s popular Galaxy S III and S 4 phones, as well as by HTC’s One. As higher quality, lossless digital formats take hold, aptX will become a more important feature to maintain audio quality.