PreCentral forum member goes hands-on with swanky Touchstone Audio Dock | webOS Nation
 
 

PreCentral forum member goes hands-on with swanky Touchstone Audio Dock 51

by Derek Kessler Fri, 18 Nov 2011 3:27 pm EST

Yeah, we’re jealous. PreCentral Forum member pdch got his hands on something we want with a rather intense desire: the Bluetooth-enabled Touchstone Audio Dock. For those not familiar with this unreleased and unannounced next iteration of Palm’s Touchstone charger, the Audio Dock was designed with the HP Pre3 in mind, lifting it up at a higher angle with a more bracket-like shape. It also packs a Bluetooth receiver that outputs audio to a 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s something we really really really want, but can’t have (sad blogger panda).

But pdch can have, in fact, he has. He managed to get his hands on the Touchstone Audio Dock and has been putting the inductive charger through its paces. He reports that the new Touchstone actually charges his Pre3 faster than a standard Touchstone (in addition to holding on to it better with a more concave shape) and he has only been able to successfully pair it with said Pre3 (An original Pre paired, but couldn’t broadcast audio). The Touchstone Audio Dock also managed to output audio that pdch described as “as good as if not better than connecting directly to my receiver.” We’re pleased by that, but not surprised – we use a USB-to-3.5mm adapter to output audio from our computer; somehow the added digital connection makes for much cleaner audio.

This is what envy feels like.

51 Comments

Okay, how many more of these are out there, and where can I buy them!!!!!

Me too, one would be enough for me.

Congratulations pdch you are now a WANTED man...

Watch your back im just sayin...

Watch your back

This is what we wanted of HP. A unique identity, cutting edge tech, distinctive capabilities.

Who at HP was doing research on the Pre and came back with "The Pre is too big, make it smaller"?

Who told HP "I have mobility with your laptops, but rather than making an all in one item like and updated smartphone, make a limited value tablet instead."

Who told HP "I need a different experience on a laptop without the trials and tribulations of mainstream software support"?

Really Mark? Really Leo? Really Meg?

They were also smart enough to make the Veer rather than a slab their first HP-branded phone.
Still waiting for my webos toaster!

Somehow I miss the ole hockey puck design. Still, all webOS needs is complete h/w love and rebooted ecosystem from HP or sincere OEM. Great picture.

SELL MOAH HP!

So, are these the second-gen touchstone they were once talking about? The ones where you can set each one to launch a specific exhibition mode (one could launch Agenda automatically while a different touchstone could be set to automatically launch Facebook)... Or is this just something totally different?

Has he tried the Veer on it yet?

That is pretty sweet.

-Suntan

At this point...who cares? I'm probably never going to have a Pre 3. Nothing out there is going to sync to my Touchpad, except to make calls, and I've resigned myself to moving on to something Android.

At this point, all of us who wanted a Pre 3 enough to go out and buy one. And there's a forum full of us, thanks.

Just because you have resigned yourself, that doesn't mean the rest of us has had to.

You make it sound like there are tens of thousands of Pre 3 owners out there. There aren't. I'm happy for you that you either had someone who could get you one, had the extra cash lying around to spend on e-bay, or live in Europe. I suspect there are more folks like me than there are of you, and there are forums filled with them, too.

What we have is a great product that failed. And a following that is a cult, not a customer base. Nothing wrong with loving what you have, but don't fool yourselves into believing HP can flip a switch and immediately begin some sort of WebOS operation that even comes close to breaking even. Even today, with all the "excitement" of the Touchpad, new units are in steady supply on Amazon and Ebay far below the simple cost of their parts, never mind all the other promotion, distribution, administration and development costs. And the number of "used" units up for sale is growing daily.

Leo skrood the pooch early on. No focus, no cohesion, no respect for customers, developers or carriers.

Leo was a chump. He had time to see where webOS was and simply say, either we invest more billions in this platform or kill it now.

Instead, he ran around touring the world and offering comments that were flipflopped on in a matter of weeks. At the end, he claimed he was protecting webOS best he could. Problem was, he had no clue really and any leadership was too passive to be effective.

As a defector to another ecosystem, I have to say that the thing I miss the most about my Pre/FrankenPre2 is the Touchstone. That thing was such a good idea/design.

Curious how easy is it to tip this audio dock over? It seems like it sits too high off the table top. Isn't it top heavy with Pre 3 on it?

I WANT ONE YESTERDAY !!!!

Just makes scratch my head an wonder "WHAT WAS HP THINKING"

They had all these great thing in the works - and Nuked them.

And for the record, Yes I'm jealous too.

I... I... I HATE PDCH!! I... I... I ENVY PDCH!! I... I... I... can buy, if pdch sell!!

Hey, pdch... have you a best friend? :-P

Now, serious: congratulations!! :-D

Best Regards... B)

I wonder if it works with the pre2....and where he lives so I *borrow it* under the cover of night!

This works quite well for me. I'd prefer that to having to run a cable across the floor or have the touchstone sitting on the stereo:

http://www.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=508754

I've had problems with touchpad Enyo apps and a2dp, however. Hope there is a release that fixes them. It's quite frustrating that none of my HD shoutcast streaming apps can work with bluetooth. The phone apps, and PDK apps (and everything on my 1.4.5 pre-) all stream just fine, however, so there is something in the way that enyo is doing the audio that is broken with bluetooth stereo.

Is everyone excited due to the physical shape or the Bluetooth audio connection? Personally, I just attach a Sony MW600 A2DP device to my stereo. No need to integrate it into the dock.

I wonder if it came with complete packaging as though it was ready to sell at Best Buy. If it did then more may show up on ebay. There'd probably be more profit in selling them that way then by recycling them.

BTW, HP is a bunch of retards! They really had something here and they've blown it. Even my diehard iphone friends get an erection when they see how cool the touchpad is.

not every time...

a few more advantages of this thing is that it can continue to stream music even while you are on the phone, it is extremely stable, and you can maintain your connection to your paired touchpad (while it is paired to a keyboard) and still stream with the phone not physically on the dock.

Seriously, I want to know, where did this come from, are there any more, and can we buy them.

Known as the A23 internally, there were only 50 (+/- 75%) built as far as I know (not an authoritative number), and many were "not ready for primetime". (Sounds like this one is a good one since it actually _works_. )

It is indeed the first of the TouchStone2 devices (BlueTooth 'should' report "TouchStone2 Audio Dock") that have individual inductively readable serial numbers so "location awareness" would be (would have been???) possible.

Nerd trick:
cat /sys/devices/virtual/misc/a6_0/remote_serno_v1
and remote_serno_v2.

If you get back anything other than all fffffff.. then it is a TouchStone2 or newer.

Undocumented (ha!) tip: The audio plug needs to be in place when you power up or the BT side goes to sleep. (The charger half will still work).

It actually shows up ad "bluetunes ROM" - and I found out through trial and error that the speakers have to be in and on for it to start pairing.

how do you know this?

come on they must have made a few of the suckers, I found pre 3's on ebay (thanks ebay) surely they are somewhere. If you think we are frustrated imagine working for hp you make a great product and then its killed by a fool. That my friends would be soul destroying.

Give it to me baby.. aha aha...

still none on eBay :(

Congratulations pdch.

HP, I hate you. Had you released this I wouldn't have to do this:

http://forums.precentral.net/hp-pre-3/303425-vent-mounted-touchstone-pre...

It's a great device but gotta say, it sure is ugly (designers asleep?)

!@#$%&*^%$#@#$$$@#$%^^!!!!!!!!!!! Grrrrr...

"...we use a USB-to-3.5mm adapter to output audio from our computer; somehow the added digital connection makes for much cleaner audio."

That would be a USB DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) replacing the built-in sound card of the computer with a higher quality external version. This improves sound quality by improving the quality of the analogue signal generated from the digital data.

Presumably, if the audio output of the Touchstone2 sounds better than the Pre3 3.5mm jack then the Touchstone2 is using a higher quality DAC chip than the Pre3. Still a bit odd that the connection is an improvement, since Bluetooth and A2DP connections usually entail a loss in quality compared to a wired setup.

I have no problems with my Pre3 on the standard Touchstone, but still... Nice piece of kit.

This is an imaginary improvement. It's a bluetooth connection for Christ sakes.

Inductively aware...isn't that a bit more than a bluetooth connection and something new?

"individual inductively readable serial numbers so "location awareness" would be (would have been???) possible."

Pretty sure that was just to enable the phone to ID the particular Touchstone it was on and behave accordingly. So, you could have a Touchstone set up in your car, and have your Pre3 open Maps when placed on it. Or one on your bedside table, and have the Pre3 open Clock or whatever. If it's pairing over Bluetooth, and it's not using some new-fangled proprietary Bluetooth audio protocol, then it's using good old fashioned A2DP. My experience with (decent) A2DP headphones is that this is listenable, but not high quality - certainly no match for a wired connection.

so just seeing how the palm/webos team at hp make all these great things is crazy! i'm a webos fan as many of u out their and as many of u i am disappointed that these webos products never made it the shelves.
comparing webos devices to the android and apple devices. the tech is far more advanced. its either that android and apple are not thinking right or something. idk but webos has crazy things that other competitors don't have. wireless charging using the wireless charging and now wireless charging with the ability to use bluetooth at the same time. the pre3 tapping with the touchpad to tranfer data. its just **** crazy. i'm sure the palm/webos team has an idea of transferring video images over wireless. if that idea hasn't came up to them. than i just put it out their. i'm sure its possible. and if the other competitors have come up with these kinds of ideas. they just don't do it right like the webos team can or possibly can do.

ummmm the tech really isn't more advanced than android or iphone. the only thing webos has "tech" wise on either android or iphone is inductive charging. other than that, webos next to most android devices looks like a feature phone and not a smart phone. i used to own a pre- and i went from that to the EVO 4G the difference is night and day.

ummmm...

"individual inductively readable serial numbers so "location awareness" would be (would have been???) possible."

Isn't that something more advanced than android or iphone? Give a little credit where credit is due.

Of course, I could be wrong...but I've already been wrong once today, so...

NFC would easily enable that on an NFC phone with an NFC enabled dock... And plenty of phones have, or will have, NFC capabilities. It would just need a dock system to utilise it.

For the Pre3, it would have been nice, but hardly groundbreaking. All it would have meant is having a particular action occur or app open up when your phone was placed on a particular Touchstone, which would only have been useful to people with more than one Touchstone anyway.

I need one or better two - badly

where can I get one.?

maverick if your only webos experience is a pre- then keep it moving

I preferred the original touchstone design. The small round touchstone "looks" like its name. This one is clunky looking. They should have retained the old design for its distinctive, discrete and unobtrusive look.

@ vasekvi

GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND!

My "experience" with webos was awful. I had that phone for a good year and change. It was cool, synergy was amazing, the multitasking was cool. But palm had no idea people wanted and the software was never fully utilized for whatever hardware they put out.

I've used a pre 2 and a touchpad. Both decent devices. Webos never really caught on because the software and hardware never clicked. Poor quality hardware + rushed software = no marketshare!

Funny how someone criticizes the "great" webos and I'm told to"keep it moving" get your blinders off man. In reality people want something that WORKS out of the box. I don't want to have to add 30+ patches to make my phone "average" thanks but webos is dead, thats just the reality.

Hmm... looks like being 'new' here means that I can't reply to existing messages...???

Anyway:
with the dock returning "bluetunes ROM" - wow! You have really old firmware in that device, and unfortunately, the firmware guys were considered part of the "hardware" side, and hence no longer work for Palm/HP..... I'm glad it is working for you.

For the dock-phone comm, it is a proprietary version of NFC using the device known internally as a6. When an a6 detects another a6 in range, they do an enumeration sort of dance and exchange phone numbers and addresses... sort of. There are some bits in there that let the phone know what type of device it is talking with - a phone, a tablet or this audio dock. Future plans did indeed call for a video dock and all sorts of other cool stuff that will not see the light of day now.