App aesthetics brought into line with iOS 7
Podcast streaming service Stitcher has released major update of its iOS app, v6.0.0. The app's interface has been redesigned not only to match iOS 7, but to streamline navigation. The front page, for example, now highlights new episodes from favorites, as well as headlines and other news stories. A new Mini Player provides constant access to what's playing, and the Now Playing screen has gained quick access to car mode and the sleep timer. Playlists can be accessed from anywhere in the app via a swipe gesture.
Limefuel's Rugged L150XR external battery features resilient construction, surpasses Kickstarter goa
Limefuel has succeeded in crowdfunding its latest gadget, the IP66 Rugged L150XR external battery. The battery is waterproof, dirt-proof, shock- and crush-proof, as determined by its IP66 protection rating. Featuring a 15,000mAh (57Wh) battery capacity, the Limefuel Rugged L150XR comes equipped with a 5V/2A(max) input for faster charging, dual 5V/2.4A(max) outputs to charge multiple devices at the same time, a touch-activated power indicator, pass-through charging enabled, auto-on and auto-off functionality, and a slot for a strap or clip for carrying. The rugged Limefuel battery will be available in two smaller capacities as well, with the L104XR offering 10,400mAh and the L130XR holding 13,000mAh. Its Kickstarter is ongoing until mid-March, and those interested in pledging as way of pre-ordering the Limefuel Rugged can receive the lowest capacity battery for $50, with shipping beginning in May.
New playback mode allows listening to series of old episodes
Podcast and radio streaming service Stitcher has released an important update of its iOS app, v5.3.0. The major addition is a selectable Car Mode for the iPhone, which brings up a simplified interface. The mode works in both portrait and landscape views.
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.
Sonos Controller 3.7 hands-on
Sonos lived up to its word early Tuesday and released its revamped edition of the Controller for Macs and Windows PCs. The 3.7 update is its first major rework in some time and brings some parts of the mobile apps over to the desktop. We've had an opportunity to try it in advance with some quick impressions.
BMW brings Stitcher to in-car infotainment system
At the SXSW conference, German luxury carmaker BMW revealed that the BMW Apps and Mini Connected systems in its vehicles now support the popular Stitcher smartphone app. The podcast-focused streaming app can be controlled from the infotainment system, including searching, providing feedback, and creating custom stations. Any cover art is also displayed on the vehicle's screen and is controlled over the iDrive interface, Engadget learned.
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.
Already up to $20 million so far
Streaming service Stitcher has managed to pull in $10 million in new venture capital funding. The investment is being led by New Enterprise Associates, with earlier backers Benchmark Capital, New Atlantic Ventures, and Ron Conway also contributing. Stitcher has raised about $20 million in total funding to date, All Things Digital observes.
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.
Sonos Play3 revealed early by FCC filing
Sonos' plans for a smaller, self-contained alternative to the ZonePlayer S5 were given away Thursday by an FCC filing. Likely to be called the Play:3, the system appears intended for a nightstand or just for those who can't justify the $400 price of an S5. The box looks to have three separate drivers and still support Ethernet along with wireless pairing to a ZoneBridge.
Chevy intros MyLink to take on Ford Sync
Chevy tonight kicked off GM's own alternative to Ford Sync. MyLink is designed to pair up with smartphones and will stream audio and handle calls from smartphones over Bluetooth. Like its challenger, it uses voice commands (here handled using Nuance's engine) and will directly control smartphone apps aware of the interface, starting with Internet radio from Pandora and Stitcher.
Ford Sync AppLink ready for Android, BlackBerry
Ford tonight acted on a promised upgrade to Sync and launched AppLink. The framework lets third-party smartphone apps talk to and control Sync with only the app, not the car, having to know the tasks. An updated Pandora Radio can stream audio from its 3G connection to the car, give the dash display track ID, and support thumbs up or down through spoken controls; the Twitter client OpenBeak can feed updates and read them back with text-to-speech.