Japanese phone company KDDI showed off its latest audio technology at CEATEC 2011, demoing a mobile phone that works without a speaker.
Instead of transmitting audio waves it pipes voice through the handset in vibration form – this is then picked up by your eardrum.
TechRadar was given a demo of the device, where we listened to a conversation from various places on the phone. As it uses vibrations, we could listen to the voice from the top of the handset, the bottom of the device and even when it was turned around.
All we had to do was place it against our ear, but didn't have to make sure we were aligned with the speaker as you do with conventional phones.
KDDI explained that the phone can be used in very noisy areas, this is because the phone doesn't transmit sound waves that can be lost when the noise around is amplified.
First impressions of the technology are that this is very much in its early stages. The conversation that tapped straight into our eardrum was clear but rather quiet – we could hear it fine, though, even though the show floor was packed and noisy.
The most impressive part was that you can listen to the phone through earphones. All you have to do is press the phone to the earbud – or even headphone – and the vibrations go straight to your ear and the music you were listening to goes quiet, with the soundwaves beaten fair and square by the phone's audio vibrations.
Although this technology is a long way off from coming to market, KDDI is hoping that it will be able to put it into waterproof handsets, as the lack of speaker will mean the company can make the phones more water tight.
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Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.