The most famous movie scene demonstrating a user-interface design has gotta be from This is Spinal Tap . Christopher Guest shows his Marshall amplifier off to Rob Reiner, pointing out that while other amps have volume knobs with tick-marks from 1 to 10, the volume knob on this one goes “up to 11.” Obviously that was just a gag, but now said amplifier manufacturer, Marshall, really is producing something no other amp manufacturer has: A smartphone. Yesterday the company announced they’re releasing the London , designed specifically for musicians and music lovers. What’s interesting is that they’ve carried over the physical design elements from their line of music equipment, with knurling along the edge of the smartphone and along the gold-colored scroll wheel and headphone plugs. The rear of the phone features the familiar alligator-like texture of their amps. A grid of holes above and below the screen announce the presence of two front-facing speakers. “Two” seems to be a theme here, as the phone is designed with two headphone jacks (each with independent volume control) and two microphones, for recording in stereo on the fly. Up top is a single gold button that they’re calling the “M-Button.” Press it once and no matter what else you’re doing with your phone, it instantly drops down the screen that controls your music. Inside the phone is an amped-up soundcard, which “gives the London a separate processor for music, allowing it to play at a higher resolution, ” the company writes. “Higher resolution means that even the best quality MP3 will sound phenomenally better when played with London. Additionally it lets you play uncompressed music such as FLAC format.” For storage, the phone takes removable Micro SD cards. And another thing that can be taken in and out of the phone is, surprisingly, the battery. The removable lithium-ion battery means you can carry a backup and not have to look around for a charger and plug if your phone dies in the middle of a session. At just under $600, the Android-based device is priced comparably to an iPhone and is currently up for pre-orders. The first units will begin shipping next month.
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Marshall Develops Smartphone Designed Like One of Their Amps