Klipsch S4A Brings a Touch of the iPhone to the Android Platform

Along with a couple of other choice items - the Mode M40 noise-cancelling full-size headphones and the G-17 AirPlay dock - Klipsch has released the S4A, an Android-friendly incarnation of the popular S4 in-ear headphone. Not so exciting a move on its surface (Klipsch swapped in a single-button in-line controller for the three-button model it had used on the iOS-specific S4i) - but a new app makes this a very interesting update for those not waiting anxiously for the iPhone 4S.

It's curious enough that a company with such a long legacy in traditional speaker design has been able to reinvent itself as a headphone manufacturer in the iPhone era, but the release of this app (developed with the help of a team of outside developers based in Indianapolis), along with an efficient little iOS setup app for the G-17, drives home Klipsch's identity as a 21st century outfit.

The single-button controller's always been a bit of a hassle on the Android platform; in a curious inversion of the desktop situation Apple's offering has benefited from a multibutton controller. The Klipsch Control app sits between your favorite music player and phone applications, and lets you assign short and long presses, as well as single, double, and triple clicks to various functions. Volume control? Check. Fast forward and reverse? Check? Those and a host of other functions of your choosing are now accessible from the headphone cable, saving you a reach into your jacket pocket. If you like, the app will also auto-launch a favorite music player when headphones are plugged in. It's a welcome niche-filler that's been lacking in the Android world.

The free app does seem to require a pair of S4As to function. - we tried it with several single-button headphones we had lying around the office, and none of them worked. Your mileage may vary, however, but even so the sonics are identical to the original S4 series, a well-regarded budget performer in the bass-forward division, and at $99 you won't suffer too much at checkout if you want the functionality.