Assuming you have some level of music knowledge, what do you think of when you hear the company name, Marshall? Probably the blaring crunch of its popular amplifiers, right? Well, try this one on for size: smartphones.
It's true: Marshall is branching out in an unexpected new way, announcing a branded Android smartphone that's set to debut next month. The device, called the London, actually comes from its Marshall Headphones label, but the look is clearly meant to evoke the company's better-known products for musicians.
On the spec sheet, the Marshall London is solidly a mid-range handset. It has a 4.7in 720p LCS IPS display, with a 1.2Ghz Snapdragon 410 processor and 2GB of RAM inside. There's 16GB of internal storage with a microSD slot for more, and the Android Lollipop (5.0.2) device has a 2,500 mAh removable battery, with a 8MP back camera and 2MP front shooter.
But it's the Marshall enhancements that make this more than just another Android phone with a new logo slapped on it. The London has two front-facing speakers and Marshall says it "might just be the loudest mobile phone on Earth." And the audio powered by a separate music processor, which Marshall says makes for higher-resolution playback, along with support for FLAC and other uncompressed formats.
The "M-Button" on top lets you access your music player in an instant, with a gold scrolling wheel on the right for volume rather than standard buttons. The London even has two headphone jacks, so a friend can easily get in on playback, and the global equalizer in the modified Lollipop lets you tweak the audio to your liking throughout.
We only have Swedish launch details at this point: it's slated to release on 17 August for SEK 4,995, or about US$585. No word yet on a wider release, but for musicians who live and breathe their gear, this could be a very appealing option that steps away from typical, mainstream smartphones.