Research In Motion has announced a new device called the BlackBerry Music Gateway that can stream music wirelessly using NFC (Near Field Communication) and Bluetooth technology. The gadget will cost $50 and debuts in June.
The BlackBerry Music Gateway is quite small and can be hooked up to your home stereo or car audio system via a 3.5mm auxiliary input or RCA connectors. You can then stream music from your phone via Bluetooth -- from a BlackBerry or competing smartphone -- from up to 30 feet away (sound quality degrades the farther you are from the receiver).
Although NFC technology is commonly known for its use in electronic payments systems, RIM used it in the BlackBerry Music Gateway for a different purpose: to connect your phone to the streaming device by simply tapping the devices together. This way, you avoid having to go through the Bluetooth pairing process, although music will be streamed via A2DP Bluetooth.
The NFC pairing feature is currently exclusive to BlackBerry devices using the technology, such as the Bold 9790 or Curve 9360/9380. However, any smartphone capable of A2DP Bluetooth (iPhones, Android phones) are able to stream music to the BlackBerry Music Gateway by using the traditional Bluetooth pairing process.
At $50, the Blackberry Music Gateway could be a good replacement for those living in busy cities, where interference degrades the sound quality of the in-car FM transmitters. It works with music apps such as BBM Music, Pandora or Slacker. Music is paused when you receive a call. The device measures 60 by 40 by 12.5 mm and weighs 28g, so it can be easily tucked away behind your home stereo.
If you are looking for a solution to stream both music and videos, then the $99 Apple TV is your best bet, but you can’t use it in your car or with non-Apple devices -- an advantage of the BlackBerry Music Gateway.