Rocki music-streaming device useful but not ready to rock [Video]
Rocki is a gadget that lets users stream music from their smartphones to their speakers, but a few issues reduce the usefulness of the device.
You’ve got a decent set of speakers but almost all of your music is in your smartphone.
You could attach a cable or buy yourself a wireless Bluetooth speaker for hundreds of dollars.
Or you could consider getting the $49 Rocki, a tiny device that turns traditional speakers into “smart” ones that can be controlled with a smartphone. The gadget is essentially a low-cost alternative to getting a Sonos wireless sound system.
Rocki attaches to the back of the speaker’s auxiliary port. After establishing a Wi-Fi connection between the device and the smartphone, users can stream their music to the speaker. Essentially, it does for music and speakers what Google Chromecast does for video and TVs.
Users can also set up multiple Rocki devices around their homes and control them all with a smartphone. But this feature is currently only available to Rocki users with Android devices.
The company said an iOS version of the app will roll out by the end of April.
I used the Rocki to stream music from Spotify on my iPhone to my surround-sound system. I was able to play my music relatively loudly and control it with my smartphone without a problem.
Apple users can stream music from any kind of music source that will play on their smartphone or tablet. This means music in iTunes, iTunes Radio, Pandora and others will work just fine.
Because there is no mobile app, the setup is a bit tricky, but a helpful guide on Rocki’s website should make it possible for most users to get the gadget to work.
On Android, though, users are very limited about what sources they can use to play music.
For now, Rocki will only play songs from SoundCloud and Last.fm as well as any tracks users have saved on their phones. This limits the usefulness of Rocki for Android users.
For example, I don’t keep any music saved on my Nexus 5, I don’t use Last.fm and I was unable to log into my SoundCloud account through the Rocki app (I think it’s because I use Facebook Connect to log in). Had I only been an Android user, I wouldn’t have found anything to do with the Rocki.
But unlike Apple users, Android users do have access to the Rocki app. That means they can control multiple Rocki devices at the same time as well as create playlists that take songs from multiple services (if they can get them to work). Rocki said it is working on adding more services soon, including Spotify.
The Rocki is a nice gadget, but at this point it remains unfinished. Apple users need the Rocki app, and Android users need access to more audio services.
The company recognizes these problems and is working on fixing them, but most users might want to hold off on buying the Rocki until it’s a little more ready for prime time.