Pandora iOS app gains new Facebook sharing features
Pandora has updated its iOS app with Facebook Open Graph support, allowing users to share their listening activity directly on the social network. A new "Publish" option has been added to the settings of the iOS app and the web-based player, allowing users to share music from wherever they are. Users are also provided with a number of controls that let them customize what information is shared. Finally, the update also offers an enhanced track menu that can be used to create a new station, as well as share, purchase, and bookmark music.
Wacom creates 1.85-inch Bamboo Stylus mini with on-device storage
Wacom has created a smaller version of its Bamboo Stylus line for mobile devices. The Bamboo Stylus mini has a brass-plated 1.85-inch body with a nine-millimeter (0.35-inch) diameter and soft rubber coating. The nib of the stylus can be changed for another from the Wacom range, including both firm and soft versions, while a strap and dummy plug allows it to be plugged into the headphone socket of a mobile device for storage. The Bamboo Stylus mini is on sale for $19.
CEO Joe Kennedy staying with company until replacement found
Streaming music provider Pandora has declared while announcing its most recent set of quarterly earnings that CEO Joe Kennedy would resign from the company. Overall, Pandora lost $0.09 per share in the fourth quarter, with a $0.23 loss per share on the year -- losing less than estimated by Wall Street. A search for a replacement executive is underway, and Kennedy will stay with the company for a tenth year to help with the transition.
Record labels balking at Apple offer, report says
As an initial offer to a record label for a forthcoming streaming service, Apple recently proposed a royalty rate of just 6 cents per 100 songs, sources for the New York Post claim. "Apple wants a rate that is lower than Pandora's," one executive is quoted as saying. Pandora pays labels 12 cents per 100 songs, which itself is below the Copyright Royalty Board's standard 21 cents for digital-only streaming. Spotify pays 35 cents, according to the Post's sources.
In-app purchase allows for listening after cutoff
Streaming music provider Pandora announced today that it would cease its unlimited ad-supported mobile music streaming. Starting March 1, US Pandora listeners will be reduced to 40 hours of free ad-supported streaming by way of mobile devices every month, unless they choose a $0.99 in-app purchase to continue listening for the rest of the month. The policy change does not affect users paying for the premium "Pandora One" service.
SMA series update adds internet streaming as input source
Pioneer Electronics has deployed a free firmware update that adds the Pandora Internet radio and vTuner Internet radio services as available features on its line of SMA series Wi-Fi speaker systems, the XW-SMA1-K, XW-SMA3-K and XW-SMA4-K. With the update, Pandora and vTuner are incorporated as sources available on the wireless speakers.
Mobile app for Android, iOS plus web browser access commences
Pandora, the leading internet radio service in the US, is now fully live in Australia and New Zealand, marking the first time the service has been available outside the United States. Following a web browser-only soft launch, the personalized radio service can now be accessed in full with smartphone apps for iOS and Android devices, in addition to the Web-based player.
Five-year 'experimental' rate deemed unhealthy for Pandora
In parallel with its attempt to lobby the US Congress for lower royalty rates on recordings, music streaming company Pandora Media is suing ASCAP, the organization that represents songwriters and composers, to seek lower licensing fees through 2015. Pandora is seeking a blanket licensing fee that would cover all songs, claiming that the current fees set a decade ago prevent profitability.
Holiday promotion of Boxee TV promises 3-month cloud DVR trial
As expected, the Boxee TV is now available for purchase at Walmart. The big box store chain is the only retail location to purchase the device, with online purchasing at Boxee's site the other option. The $98 piece of hardware includes a digital antenna, and word is buyers will get a three-month trial period to the No Limits DVR service.
Windows Phone version to get year of ad-free music
Pandora has announced an update to its app for both iOS and Android smartphones. The new update, which brings the app to version 4.0, is hailed by Pandora as the biggest redesign since its launch on the two major platforms. The company also confirmed Microsoft's report from earlier in the day that those using Pandora on Windows Phone 8 would get a year of ad-free service on the streaming radio app.
Boxee TV gets subscription-based No Limits DVR capability, $100 price tag
Boxee, which traditionally made products that focused on streaming multimedia content from local storage and the web, has now introduced the aptly named Boxee TV. It will let users watch live TV content from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and other channels in high definition. It also doubles as a DVR and bring Internet Apps to a connected HDTV.
Investor fears that Apple will start up own streaming service
Streaming radio purveyor Pandora has announced its monthly listener metrics in an effort to stem its declining stock price. The firm announced that its market share in US radio listening has increased to 56.2 million active listeners, about 48 percent higher than a year ago, and 1.3 million more listeners than it had in July. However, since rumors of Apple working on a music streaming service appeared, Pandora's stock continues to lose money.
Three months of Pandora stock price gains lost in one day
Following a report that Apple was planning its own streaming music service, shares of Pandora Music have plummeted more than 16 percent, with most of the losses happening overnight following the wide distribution of the rumor. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has been in negotiations with record labels to license music for a service that would play songs based on listener's genre or artist selection.
Streaming revenue growth outpaces downloads by 5x
Digital music revenues are forecast to finally excede physical media sales globally sometime as early as 2015, driven by strong growth from streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Spending on digital music, including downloads and streaming services, is expected to increase by 17.8 percent to $8.6 billion in 2012, as revenue from packaged sales drops by an estimated 12.1 percent.
Velocomp unveils iBike Moto iPhone motorcycle mount
Velocomp has launched a new motorcycle mounting system for the iPhone, the iBike Moto. The mount is made of machined aluminium by motorcycle specialist Techmount, attachable to the handlebars and capable of swiveling 360 degrees. A water- and shock-resistant case covers the iPhone, closed by a Click-Latch mechanism. The included iBike Moto App acts as a digital dashboard and fuel gauge, as well as the mapping system. The iBike Moto is on sale for $80.
Netgear NeoTV Pro gets Intel WiDi support, Netgear adds four new channels
Netgear has now followed up its NeoTV 200 media hub with a new NeoTV Pro version that most significantly adds support for Intel's WiDi tech. This lets compatible Intel desktops and notebooks wirelessly stream what's on their displays through the media hub to an HDTV. The box otherwise retains the same Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, YouTube, and Pandora streaming of the original.
Net loss per share advised despite increased revenues
Internet radio service Pandora claims to control over 70 percent of the US Internet radio market. The company's recent earnings report covering the first quarter of the 2012-2013 fiscal year touted details of over 3 billion listening hours on the service by over 150 million users. The net loss for the year is expected to be up to $0.11 per share, despite both subscription and advertising revenue increasing in year-on-year comparisons.
Spotify may compete with Pandora, Slacker
Spotify might be gearing up a more formal Internet radio option, a pair of sources claimed Thursday. While it already has basic radio features, the new method outlined to Bloomberg would be more akin to one like at Pandora or Slacker, where explicitly labeling it as radio would get government-regulated lower royalty rates. The method would also purportedly get it access to artists that normally wouldn't sign for the usual on-demand Spotify system.
Sony BDP-S790 due on May 6
Sony on Sunday said it was on the verge of shipping its most advanced Blu-ray player for the year, the BDP-S790. The networked movie hub is due to reach stores May 6. Pre-orders are starting now for the player, which costs $250.
Gives subscribers access to 900,000 tracks
Earlier today, Dish Network introduced streaming music service Pandora as an enhancement to the Hopper Whole Home HD digital video recorder (DVR) system. Either a new account or an existing account can be used with the upgrade. A persistent internet connection is required to access Pandora content.
D-Link adds MovieNite media hub
D-Link threw itself into low-cost media hubs Tuesday with the MovieNite. Borrowing from the design cues of the Apple TV and Roku 2, the device at $60 is one of the least expensive capable of 1080p video. Its primary sources are Netflix, Vudu, and YouTube for video as well as Pandora for streaming music and Picasa for photos.
Rdio working on new free-flowing radio feature
Online music streaming service Rdio plans to offer a radio-like listening option to its service, letting users set and forget a station or constant music playback, VP of Product Malthe Sigurdsson revealed in an interview with GigaOM. Doing so would mimic similar features from competitors like Spotify and Slacker, the latter offering it on their paid, Premium service.
Pioneer adds two Elite AV receivers, AirPlay/DLNA
Pioneer has taken the covers off to new additions to its Elite range of AV receivers. Both the Elite VSX-42 and the Elite VSX-60 sport AirPlay support for lossless iTunes and iOS streaming, as well as support for DLNA (1.5) and Bluetooth audio streaming with an optional Bluetooth adapter. They also come with vTuner Internet radio, which is extended in the VSX-60 to include support for Pandora and Sirius XM.
Garmun makes in-car info system for 2013 Suzukis
Garmin branched out into in-car GPS and media systems for the first time Monday through a deal with Suzuki. "Most" 2013 model year Suzuki cars will get a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface that both covers the prerequisite GPS navigation as well as support for playing back from phones and iPods through USB, the aux-in jack, or Bluetooth. The system supports voice control to keep hands on the wheel, and smartphone links that include Pandora radio access for iPhone users and broader tools for gas, parking, traffic, and weather drawn from Android phones.
Chevy GogoLink to undercut Ford for GPS options
GM on Wednesday sought to counter the navigation side of Ford Sync with a unique option depending on smartphones. GogoLink will give Chevy Sonic and Spark drivers in-car, turn-by-turn navigation by using a smartphone app that relays its position and info to the touchscreen in the center stack. It should range from basic points of interest coverage with offline map caching to Google-based local searches, live traffic, and 3D mapping.
Turns smartphones into remotes for media players
Roku has released an app for Android devices (free, Android Market). With it, users can control one of the company's streaming media players with a smartphone instead of the remote that normally comes with the hub. Roku made a similar app available for iOS devices in December (free, App Store).
Sync coming to Europe in Ford B-Max first
Ford at MWC revealed it will debut its Sync in-car infotainment system in Europe on the upcoming B-Max minivan. The service will be available in nine languages, including UK English, EU French, EU Spanish, EU Portuguese, German, Italian, Turkish, Dutch, and Russian. At the same time, the carmaker introduced Sync AppLink globally, the system meant to allow drivers to operate their handsets using their voice.
OpenPandora offers gaming handheld for pre-order
Germany's OpenPandora will begin shipping a handheld UMPC/gaming console in February. The device has been in the works for nearly four years, having suffered through production and shipping delays. It still carries no name and there are 4,000 units slated for shipping in February. The company did ship 2,800 units to date since May, 2010.
RCA soundbar to stream Netflix, Vudu, Pandora
At a pre-CES event, RCA showed off a new sound bar that connects to the web to let subscribers access their Netflix, Pandoara, Vudu and other services. The 37-inch RCA Wi-Fi Home Theater Sound Bar (model RTS739WS) is paired with two satellite speakers a subwoofer to deliver surround sound. There is an HDMI output and an optical audio input for adding audio from a TV or other source such as a set-top or receiver.
Boxee 1.5 marks shift from desktop to devices
Boxee marked a swansong for its desktop app with the launch of 1.5. The app has a newly refreshed interface with quicker access to the browser and the menu appearing as an overlay with quicker search. Movie and TV sections have been given their own updates, such as easier navigation by genres and sources, more details, and a better way to check for unwatched video episodes.
Vizio ships M-series LED LCD Smart 3D TVs
The 3D HDTVs Vizio introduced at the CES expo in January are now shipping, the company said Wednesday. The M-series sets use passive glasses technology that's cheaper to run, but still have Vizio Internet Apps. All have edge-lit LED backlighting, and some sets include up to four pairs of the battery-free glasses, which are lightweight and more comfortable than active shutter glasses.
Kindle Fire will get access to thousands of apps
Amazon on Wednesday confirmed that it will bring a plethora of existing Android apps to the Kindle Fire when it begins shipping next week. They will number in the thousands and include such popular ones like Netflix, Facebook, Pandora, Twitter and more. Games from Rovio, Electronics Arts, Zynga and other established developers will also be instantly available.
Interface gets overhauled
Sony has announced that its Music Unlimited service has been overhauled with a number of tweaks and improvements. Users can now customize their own channels, constructed using favorite artists. The custom channel is then filled with songs from the favorite artists and content from related artists.
Fixes issues with BMWs, Minis
Music service Pandora has posted a new version of the Pandora Radio iOS app, v3.1.15. The update makes several significant changes, for instance allowing upgrades to the Pandora One tier from within the Settings tab. This costs $36 a year, but strips out audio and visual ads from the app as well as the web player.
Roku LT arrives with extra low price
Roku hoped to lower the price floor for networked media hubs Tuesday with the Roku LT. By shedding the Ethernet, SD card slot, and Bluetooth used for the Roku 2's gaming on many models, the box drops to just $50, or half the price of an Apple TV. It can still output 720p video streamed over Wi-Fi and has all the channels of regular Roku players, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and Pandora radio.
Premiere Elite set-top box offering many firsts
TiVo is now shipping its Premiere Elite set-top box, which was officially introduced at the start of September. The premium offering has four digital tuners and a built-in 2TB hard drive. Meant for home theater enthusiasts, it's also THX-certified for picture and sound output.
Xfinity to expand to more consoles, connected TVs
Comcast will bring its Xfinity video-on-demand service to consoles other than just the Xbox 360 as well as other TVs and set-tops. These include Nintendo's Wii and Sony's PS3, as well as LG and Samsung TVs along with the Roku media hub. Comcast Converged Products president Sam Schwartz revealed these plans at a panel on Thursday.
WD TV Live carries Spotify Music and more
Western Digital on Tuesday brought out its next-generation WD TV Live media box and companion WD TV Live Hub. The new version has a revamped, tray-based interface and now has Spotify music. Listeners with a Spotify Premium account can stream at the full 320Kbps with support for making playlists, sharing, and getting access to others' content through profiles and the song inbox.
New HTML5 sitte removes 40-hour listening cap
Pandora Wednesday publicly launched a totally revamped website. The New Pandora site uses HTML5 rather than Flash and is said to be more responsive, easier to use, and comes with improved social integration. The team also previewed the site over the last two months to listeners for feedback and bug fixes. Perhaps most importantly for some, Pandora removed the 40-hour listening cap for free users, and it's now unlimited.
Sony Dash B7 and B70 joined by N200 in US
Sony as part of its home media push Wednesday unveiled a rearchitected Dash and brought the N200 streaming media player to the US. The Dash HID-B7 and HID-B70 are now PC-free, having their own setup processes, and have a simple web browser for a quick information check. The B70 adds a built-in lithium-ion battery to let it serve as a traveling clock radio.
Netgear N900 router and NeoTV streamer arrive
Netgear made inroads to home networking Wednesday headlined by a self-proclaimed high-speed router. The N900, also known as the WNDR4500, is part of a still-rare group that can run Wi-Fi up to 450Mbps concurrently on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Wireless sharing is atypically faster as well: the USB controller is more powerful than on most rivals and estimated to be 30 percent faster for sharing an external hard drive or a printer.
App adds dynamic radio station-like listening
Spotify, the music streaming provider, now has a radio style web interface through unofficial means. Known as Echofi, a listener can now specify a group or band that they like, and then listen to similar music for as long as they like. This capability, similar in function to Pandora, was created not by the company, but by a third party, coder Andy Smith.
Ford AppLink to get Spotify streaming
Ford has reached a deal with Spotify to integrate its Internet music streaming into AppLink. Drivers with Sync-equipped cars will have the option of controlling at least some parts of Spotify through the car's center stack and voice commands rather than having to use an iPhone or Android phone. The two haven't said when it will be ready.
Appliance adds smart content to TV viewing
Chumby has announced the NeTV, an appliance that turns a conventional TV into a "smart" TV. The device, placed between the TV and any video source, inserts additional content. Using it, a viewer can browse the web, view photos sent from an Android-based smartphone, or access over 1,500 apps including a personalized internet news crawler, Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, or Flickr.
Sony opens CEDIA with US launch of 3D headgear, 4K
Sony opened up the CEDIA home theater show with both new and newly US-bound gear. The HMZ-T1 wearable 3D viewer is now coming to the US and should be available in November for $799. The headset has a unique dual-panel OLED that outputs 720p to each eye more naturally than active shutter glasses.
Sony 2011 car head units tie to iPhone for Pandora
Sony picked Wednesday to revamp its in-car head units with a much heavier influence on digital sources in eight new devices. The CDX-GT565UP, DSX-S210X, and DSX-S310BTX all stream Pandora's Internet radio from a connected iPhone and go beyond just basic USB or Bluetooth audio. At least on the S210X and S310BTX, all the Pandora controls shift to the receiver, including the thumbs-up/thumbs-down to tune the recommendations.
Google TV Honeycomb explored on video
The recently leaked Google TV Android 3.1 revamp has had its first trial runs through video (below) and reports from those on GTVHacker willing to experiment. A run-through from Channel Android on a Logitech Revue has shown more of the interface than what was seen at Google I/O in May and shows that virtually none of the original interface is left over, and much of it is now devoted to apps and widgets. Android Market is the most relevant as it's now known to have a "featured for TV" section much like that for tablets as well as a clearly TV-native interface.
Pioneer Elite receivers carry AirPlay, Air Jam
Pioneer wrapped up the week by adding two new Elite receivers with a heavy emphasis on their iOS links. The 7.1-channel SC-55 and 9.1-channel SC-57 hubs revolve chiefly around their new, Class-D3 amps. The two have quicker response times and reduced total harmonic distortion even as they consume less power and generate less heat.
Sirius XM 2.0 radios out late this year
More details on the upcoming Sirius XM 2.0 technology have been revealed. It will arrive near the end of the year with two radios that support the tech. By mid-2012, a 2013 model year car from an unnamed manufacturer with an OEM radio that supports the tech will be released. The Android-based platform aims to compete with Internet radio and will have built-in support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Internet access as a whole.
Pandora comes to Verizon FiOS TV subscribers
Verizon on Wednesday added the Pandora streaming Internet radio service to its FiOS TV subscribers in California, Texas and Virginia. In the process, it becomes the first TV service provider to do so, and promises Pandora will come to other FiOS TV subscribers over the next few months. Current Pandora subscribers can log in from their Motorola HD or DVR set-top boxes or create a new account and stream music to their TV or connected home theater system.