What is this "Touchstone Audio Dock" HP just sent through the FCC, and why do we want one? | webOS Nation

What is this "Touchstone Audio Dock" HP just sent through the FCC, and why do we want one?

by Derek Kessler Tue, 16 Aug 2011 6:46 pm EDT

Well, well, well, what have we here? The FCC is always such a delightful treasure trove of information, and we may now be getting the latest low-down on a new accessory for the HP Pre3: the Touchstone Audio Dock. HP amended a filing to request that the FCC test the 6MHz frequency band between the Pre3 (GSM) and the heretofore unheard-of Touchstone Audio Dock.

6MHz is a new frequency for us in the webOS sphere. The Touchstone charges over the frequency of 118.5KHz, a relatively low frequency, but powerful enough to charge a phone with little worry. When the HP Veer was introduced, we learned that the phone could also transmit on the 3.1MHz band, which we presumed would be used to identify the Touchstone to the phone for more customized Exhibition. And this new Touchstone Audio Dock – it also transmits at 6MHz, a capability apparently already built into the Pre3. Here’s a bit of the letter to the FCC requesting the amendment with the new accessory:

Dear Examiner,

This is to request a Class II permissive change for FCC ID: B94HHF30CV, originally granted on 05/10/2011.

The only change filed under this application is to add a new accessory - Touchstone Audio Dock. The phone was originally certified to work with the wireless charger - HP Touchstone/Part No: 157-10123- 00 - at fundamental frequency of 3.1 MHz. In this Class II permissive change filing, an alternate wireless charger – HP Touchstone Audio Dock/Model No: HSTNH-T32C is added. Therefore, the phone is capable of transmitting at both 3.1 MHz and 6 MHz fundamental frequencies. There is no hardware / software changes on the phone. 6 MHz functionality was original built in phone.

This letter doesn’t tell us much else about the Touchstone Audio Dock. But the rest of the testing documents do. The most telling part is the FCC Test Report, which includes descriptions of the testing set up as well as two diagrams in lieu of actual photos. Here’s the equipment and conditions they tested with the Pre3 and the audio Touchstone:

Mode 1 : GSM850 Idle + WLAN Idle + Bluetooth Link + Inductive Charger with External Speaker + MP3 + USB Cable (Charging from Adapter 1) + Battery 1 (Fig.1)

So parsing this data, here’s what we’re deducing from the FCC Test Report: the Touchstone Audio Dock is a next-generation inductive charger for HP webOS smartphones that will include the ability to serve as a Bluetooth audio transmitter. It would seem to have a 3.5mm audio-out jack, as the FCC tested the dock with both an external speaker set (the Altec Lansing Expressionist Bass FX3022) and an undisclosed set of headphones. Considering that there was no mention of testing with any sort of microphone input, we’re going to conclude this is a dock for music and the like. But… we’re still not sure what the extra 6MHz band is for if it’s also going to hook up with Bluetooth.

For our part, we’re excited. We’ve been asking – nay, begging – Palm and then HP for a Touchstone dock that also served as an audio dock. And now, it looks like we’re finally going to get it. Our hope is that it maintains the same ultra-minimalist looks of the current Touchstone, just adding a 3.5mm jack to the back. We want, and thank you FCC!

Source: FCC; Via: PreCentral Forums