We never used to take the speakers in phones or tablets very seriously. Frankly, we're not sure manufacturers did either. But the old assumption that tiny = tinny is starting to seem a bit unfair. Last year, Dutch chip-maker NXP released a new type of mobile audio component -- the TFA9887 -- that allowed a mobile device to monitor its speaker system in real-time in order to max out volume without risking damage to the driver. Although NXP is way too modest to confirm it, we happen to know that this chip made its way into a number of HTC devices, including the new One, One X+ and 8X, where it's been described as "feedback" speaker technology.
The extra voltage delivered to speakers by this generation of component hasn't been especially wild -- just a couple of volts above the industry norm of around 3V. But what you're about to hear after the break is the next-gen TFA9890, which is expected to appear in devices around the middle of this year, and which racks things all the way up to 9.5V. This promises to be a much more audible leap relative to traditional no-feedback speaker systems, and you should be able to spot the difference for yourself after the break.