Amp legend Marshall launches smartphone targeting music junkies

The Marshall London phone claims to be the “loudest phone on earth.” (Courtesy Marshall)
The cover of the Marshall London has a pebbly, black matte finish, similar to the touch of its legendary guitar amps. (Courtesy Marshall)
The Marshall London is not yet available in the U.S., but is expected to cost about $600. (Courtesy Marshall)
With two speakers and two stereo headphone jacks, the Marshall London targets music lovers. (Courtesy Marshall)
Brass accessories are similar to high-quality guitar cables (Courtesy Marshall)
The Marshall London is an Android phone, using the Lollipop operating system. (Courtesy Marshall)

WASHINGTON — The guitar amplifier maker that powered the ear-shattering sounds of Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and The Ramones is trying to start a new revolution, by making a smartphone catering to music lovers who like it loud.

Marshall founder Jim Marshall first began making the amps in his London shop in 1962, for customers including guitarists Pete Townshend and Ritchie Blackmore, because popular Fender amps were expensive to import to England.

Within a few years, rock bands were judged by the size of the wall of Marshall stacks behind the musicians.

Now, Marshall has invented its first smartphone, called the London, which it claims “might just be the loudest mobile phone on Earth.”

The London Marshall isn’t yet available in the United States, but on its Swedish website, Marshall says its smartphone is “all about the sound quality.”

Outfitted with two speakers that “are louder than one,” Marshall claims its soundcard gives the London a separate processor for music, allowing it play at a higher resolution. And, it can play uncompressed music, including the FLAC format.

The phone also includes two stereo jacks, so two people can listen to the same song together.

A global equalizer lets users tweak the phone’s bass and treble settings to a configuration that sounds best to their ears, and then quickly apply that customized profile when desired.

Other preinstalled software facilitates multi-track recording and a DJ app.

The Android phone utilizes the Lollipop 5.0.2 operating system, and includes a removable 2500 mAh Li Ion battery, and 16GB of mass storage and a micro SD card slot.

When its available in the U.S., Marshall London will likely cost about $600.

Some are not impressed.

Mashable writes “If you were looking for proof that Rock and Roll is officially dead, look no further.”

Even though the phone has a pebbly, matte black surface similar to the skin of Marshall amps, and brass details that mirror high-quality guitar cables, most of the phone’s features are available, cheaper, on other Android phones.

According to Mashable, “it’s cheap lifestyle marketing, and there is nothing less rock and roll than this.”


Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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