Ripped tracks free to customers for purchases in last decade
Amazon has extended its AutoRip service to the United Kingdom and Europe, following a successful launch in the United States. The service provides a digital copy of physical albums bought through the retailer, with songs automatically appearing in the user's Amazon Cloud Player as MP3 files, which saves the user time in ripping tracks from the CD, as well as providing the music early without having to wait for the CD to arrive.
Weak security resulted in DRM-free MP3 file downloads
A vulnerability found in Spotify's web player has been exploited, allowing users to download permanent copies of songs from the service. A Chrome extension by the name of Downloadify used the exploit to download MP3 files that were free of DRM, rather than just stream them, something which Spotify has been quick to rectify.
Downloadable album tracks for albums bought in last 15 years
Amazon has started offering MP3 versions of CDs bought through the retailer. AutoRip will provide users a digital copy of specific albums bought on Amazon, not only for future purchases, but also for any albums bought from a list of over 50,000 by customers in the 15 years since Amazon first opened its Music Store.
Company said to be on hiring spree
Amazon is allegedly preparing for a major overhaul of its MP3 Store. The online retailer is claimed to be set to relaunch the store's APIs and web services, unnamed sources have told TechCrunch. The sources also claim partners have been asked to delay Amazon MP3 integrations until the revamped portal has been launched.
Teases MP3 with AMOLED, 720p, SRS enhancements
Viliv is showing a new media player on its website, the P3 Prime. The site is in Korean with no English language version available, but the images feature a device with 3.7-inch, 480x800 AMOLED touchscreen, and appears to run dual OS Android and Windows CE operating systems. The site hints at 720p video, although it's not known which video formats will be supported.
Songs can be streamed forever for 10 cents each
Lala is readying an iPhone app that will serve as a portal for the company's music services, according to the Associated Press. The app will allow users to purchase the right to stream songs for $0.10 each, which pays for an unlimited number of plays. The sound quality, however, is lower than standard iTunes MP3s.
MakeMusic updates notation software packages
MakeMusic has released two new music notation software packages, Finale SongWriter 2010 and PrintMusic 2010. Each upgraded bundle includes improved compatibility with the latest operating systems and new features. SongWriter 2010 is geared towards teachers, students and musicians, providing tools for creating sheet-music with instrumentations of up-to 8 staves.
New Crosley Turntables
Crosley Radio has announced four additions to its line of turntables, the CR7002A, CR6007A, CR6005A and CR2413A. Two of the new turntables, the CR7002A and CR6007A, allow users to both play vinyl records and create digital recordings using a USB storage device or SD card. Both turntables enable the playback of MP3 files, while also integrating a CD player and AM/FM radio. The CR7002A Troubadour Turntable is equipped with a side-mounted cassette player, while the CR6007A Tech Turntable features an LCD display and remote control.
Neil Young on iPods
Folk and rock star Neil Young has issued sharp criticism of Apple and the iPod, Fortune reports. Speaking at a conference hosted by the magazine, Young said that the sound quality of recordings has been reduced to "Fisher-Price toy" levels in recent years, and companies ike Apple are to blame. "Apple has taken a detour down the convenience highway," says Young. "Quality has taken a complete backseat -- if it even gets in the car at all."
Europe cuts filesharer ban
The European Parliament has voted to abolish a plan to permanently ban illegal filesharers, writes IDG News. Under the rules of the plan, those caught sharing copyrighted music, video and other material would have been prevented from even connecting to the Internet for unspecified amounts of time, possibly permanently. "The vote shows that MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) want to strike a balance between the interests of rights holders and those of consumers, and that big measures like cutting off Internet access shouldn't be used," according to EP spokeswoman Malene Folke Chaucheprat.
Apple popular with teens
Investment research firm Piper Jaffray today held a conference call regarding teenage spending habits and statistics, which brought to light several figures about Apple devices and services. Of the students surveyed, the report found that 87-percent owned an MP3 player, and of those, 86-percent are iPod owners. This also reflected in the students' choice of music store, with iTunes sitting at 79-percent. The advent of other iPod-compatible music stores eroded iTunes' share slightly from 89-percent.
In brief: We have a review of Madden NFL 08, one the best of the Electronic Arts Intel only Mac titles so far, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300M is now available, MAXPower wireless hardware price drops are in effect, a quarter million users have downloaded bento, and MP3-based swim workouts have been released ... We have posted a review of Madden NFL 08, one the best of the Electronic Arts Intel only Mac titles so far. Madden requires a simple drag-and-drop install. Before you play, you must enter the authentication code, register it on the site, and we recommend you check for updates. Madden NFL 08 has a memorable soundtrack, offering a mix of rock, rap, and R&B tracks. The tracks were not jarring or obtrusive
MPIO V10 media player
Media player specialist MPIO has announced the V10, a forthcoming mid-range unit. A key attribute is its three-inch, 480x272 widescreen display, which enhances watching video in formats such as AVI, WMV, MP4, DivX and XviD. Supported audio formats are also wide, including AAC, OGG, WAV, WMA and MP3. Memory consists of 8GB of internal flash, which can be expanded through SD cards. No prices or release dates have been published. [via Generation MP3]
Sony UX voice recorders
Tailing off its media assault, Sony has announced a new UX series of voice recorders, described as "hybrids" for their ability to double as music players. The players can optionally record to higher-quality stereo MP3, and support Macs and PCs as well as ID3 artist and title tagging. The top-end version, the UX80, uses 2GB of flash storage; this amounts to 36 hours of 128kbps MP3, or as much as 581 hours of lower-quality content. The UX70 comes with just 1GB of memory, and can thus record 290 hours of low-quality sound, or 18 hours in MP3. The 80 and 70 should both be released in April, at prices of $150 and $100 respectively.
Archos 405 updates to 30GB
Archos has dramatically increased the capacity of its 405 media player, an announcement reveals. Although last year's model had just 2GB of hard drive space, the player now holds 15 times that capacity at 30GB. This should theoretically be enough to hold 40 movies, 300,000 photos, or 15,000 songs.
The player is equipped with a 3.5-inch screen, and is able not only to output to TV, but act as a miniature DVR unit through a DVR Station Gen 5. The new 405 should be on sale in the UK by the end of February, for £200 ($388); no North American plans have been mentioned, but the majority of Archos' products are sold on the continent. [via Pocket-lint]
Mustek today unveiled the PF-E700 digital photo frame, a seven-inch TFT LCD that features a built-in alarm clock, indoor temperature gauge, and snooze functions. The display is measured at 480 by 234 pixels, and accepts a wide range of multimedia cards, such as SD, SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro Duo, and Compact Flash. In addition to photos, the PF-E700 can also play MP3 files, and movies that are saved in AVI and MPEG formats. Mustek will ship the frame in April at a price of $150.
Toshiba Gigabeat T802, V81
Toshiba has announced updates to two of its Gigabeat media players, in the T and V series. The T802 is an upgrade to the T401, and beyond doubling memory from 4 to 8GB, also introduces 802.11b/g wireless, which like Apple's iPod touch can be used to download content. People can not only browse the YouTube-like GyaO service however, but download movies and podcasts, something even the Touch is not currently capable of. The player should be available in Japan on February 15th, at an average cost of 29,800 yen ($279).
Italian parliament and P2P
The Italian parliament may be on the verge of legalizing peer-to-peer music sharing, local paper La Repubblica reports. Already approved by both houses of the legislature, a new law allows open sharing of any images and music on the Internet, so long as the material is degraded and used solely in non-profit scientific or educational contexts. The problem, says Italian lawyer Andrea Monti, is that "degraded" has specific connotations which could include any form of MP3, given that the format is by definition affected by compression, even if listeners cannot tell.
iPod speaker case
Eye Play USA has released a water resistant iPod sunglasses/speaker case with exterior volume controls. Compatible with the iPod, iPhone, or any other MP3 player the case has a hidden 12 W NXT flat panel speaker. Its dimensions are 7" x 4" x 3". The Sunglass Case holds MP3 Player, Sunglasses and has a zipper for money or credit cards. Officials say: "Splash Proof! Protect your player and valuables from water, sand and dirt. Ideal for any outdoor activities or any time you want to play your tunes!" The case is available in: Black, Silver, White and Pink and is priced at $50.
iRiver LPlayer, Spinn, P20
iRiver has announced a full three new media players, each with a substantially different design. One of the most notable of these is the LPlayer, a compact model most likely intended to compete with the iPod nano or the Zune 4/8. The front surface is dominated entirely by a two-inch screen, suggesting touch control; regardless, it does feature FM radio, and comes in 2, 4 and 8GB sizes sharing four different colors (white, brown, purple and cyan). No prices or release dates have been disclosed.
Targus unveils at CES 2008
Targus today unveiled a set of new laptop-centric products – the Velos Messenger bag, the Stow-N-Go mouse, the HeatDefense pad, Travel Power Outlets, and DEFCON privacy filters – as well as LCD mounting arms, and a mobile speaker system for MP3 players. The Velos Messenger bag comes in three color styles: chocolate with a chocolate-aqua strap, charcoal with black-lime green strap, and wheat with mushroom-orange strap. Laptops are fully cushioned from both sides, and are protected by a neoprene sleeve. Up to a 15.4-inch laptop can be used with the bag, and the extra removable strap can be exchanged with other Velos owners to make new color combinations. Targus will sell the Velos Messenger bag for $70, and it will be available in May.
Napster to switch to MP3s
Online music service Napster, which has for some time only sold tracks in a protected Windows Media Audio format, will soon begin selling music in the form of unprotected MP3s, according to Reuters. Starting in the second quarter of 2008, at least a portion of the files sold or offered via subscription will be unprotected, in what may perhaps be the most significant such announcement since Amazon's digital store launch. Napster claims to have some 750,000 subscribers, who make use of both plans and permanent downloads.
Mpio's dual-padded MG300
Mpio's latest media player is the MG300, due to launch first in Japan. Distinguishing the device is the presence of not one but two control pads, which more neatly divide play, forward/reverse and track skipping options; the second pad also has a Record button, tied to the 300's built-in microphone. The player is equipped with a 2.4-inch LCD, and comes bundled with AVI conversion software that supports DivX, XviD, WMV and MPEG-1/2/4 video. Supported audio types include APE, FLAC, MP3 and WMA.
Cowon Q5W coming in Dec.
Cowon has revealed that its Q5W media player, announced for the US earlier this month, will at last ship in early December. The player is unique in several respects; it supports 802.11b Wi-Fi for instance, but unlike Apple's iPod touch, can browse websites with and without Flash. The player also has a five-inch, 800x480 touchscreen, which can be optimized for either fingers or a stylus.
Deutsche Grammophon store
The Universal-owned Deutsche Grammophon, a famous international classical label, has at last launched its own digital online store. While much of the music found on the site can also be bought elsewhere, the DG Web Shop is already playing host to some 600 albums which are no longer on CD, with more out-of-print titles expected in the future. Total album count is currently near 2,400. Perhaps most important is the music's format: while Universal has already been selling some music DRM-free, the DG site goes a step further by using an ultra-high 320kbps bitrate. Even Apple's iTunes Plus service limits files to 256kbps.