Xbox Live services to go free from April 19-23
In an attempt to get some more users hooked on its premium Xbox Live subscription service, Microsoft will offer it for free for five days, commencing on Thursday, April 19, and running until Monday, April 23. Partners like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and EPIX will also open their doors for free during the same time period. Depending on where users are, however, they will get various amounts of free app access during those five days.
Ford Sync updates get our teardown
Ford brought out a slew of updates to its Sync system in time for CES, and we've had the opportunity to try them all in time for CES. Sync Destinations has been given an update that now lets drivers send directions directly to the phone rather than just talking to Ford's cloud services. We saw it in action, and it's a very straightforward process that uses your device's Sync Destinations app as a form of direction store: a Bluetooth (Android or BlackBerry) or USB (these plus iOS) link uploads the files, and the phone can get directions pushed to it from Google Maps on the web.
Xbox 360 live TV goes available worldwide
Microsoft as repeatedly rumored has kicked off its Xbox 360 live TV option. Cable and fiber TV providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, as well as individual TV stations such as Bravo, Epix, HBO, and SyFy, are all promising apps for the new Xbox Dashboard to watch TV online. Most if not all of the services will require that viewers authenticate to get access and will still need to have traditional TV.
Facebook music and video sharing unveiled at f8
Facebook continued its string of news at f8 by detailing its media sharing. Part of a new system of verbs that replace the generic Like, it focuses most on music: users can spot someone listening to a song in the live ticker and start listening to the same track. Services will still need to launch the separate app if it exists, but the method will let anyone listen to similar content if it exists in a subscription service.
Toyota, Salesforce team on social as Entune shown
Toyota and Salesforce on Monday teamed up on a social network for cars. Nicknamed Toyota Friend, it would put out micro updates similar to Twitter either between fellow drivers or even updates from a car. An electric or plug-in hybrid car could automatically post when it's low on battery, Toyota gave as one example.
BlackBerry Radio hits beta stage
RIM gave an early look at a new media app of its own on Thursday to those in its BlackBerry Beta Zone. BlackBerry Radio combines both Internet only services like Slacker with traditional radio station sources such as Corus and Clear Channel's iheartradio in a single app. The service gives at least a sample even if it would normally require a subscription and gives the option of downloading the relevant app.
Grace Digital Solo Touch, Bravado X, Mondo hit CES
Grace Digital hoped to get in updates on its radios before a wave of CES news with the launch of three new Internet radios. The Bravado X, Mondo and Solo Touch now have color, higher resolution displays that provide a much clearer and more image-driven interface. All three can be controlled either from buttons or from the company's iPhone remote control app (free, App Store).
Grace Solo tuner has iPhone remote control
Grace Digital hoped to stand out among Internet radio tuners with the Solo. The hub links up to any existing speaker system and streams either 18,000 preset stations, custom-programmed stations, or services like iheartradio, Live365, Pandora and Sirius over an 802.11g Wi-Fi link. Although it has built-in controls, it's unique in having the option of an iPhone app (free, App Store) that serves both as a remote control and as a way of checking track info away from the built-in screen.