[CEATEC 2011] We’ve got our hands on KDDI’s speaker-less Android phone, and the test was quite interesting as you can see on the photo. First, let’s talk about the technology: KDDI is using vibrations to transmit sound, which is the same concept that used in bone-conduction audio devices: the vibration is transmitted to the eardrum directly, which converts it into sound – no airwaves involved. This time, this technology is integrated directly into the phone.This means that the smartphone does not have a speaker, and KDDI says that making water-resistant phones is much easier this way as there are less water-infiltration locations. KDDI also claims that this works better than standard speakers in very noisy environment. It worked OK on the showfloor, although the sound wasn’t super-loud. I think that they can (should) improve this further.
As a side-effect, the audio works even when using ear mufflers that would work in a shooting range or construction area. In this test, I was listening to sound coming from the Android device, and although the sound was soft, it was clearly audible. So far, this won’t “blow away” current technologies, but it does have some advantages that are interesting. Now, I’m not sure what the impact is on the cost of the handset, but I’m glad that a company is trying it.