The Motorola W755 finally has landed in our hands. I have to apologize for taking so long to review this phone--I know a lot of you were asking for it--but Motorola and Verizon Wireless took their time in getting us a sample model. But now that it's arrived, I can report that it is a solid phone. It depends way too much on the Razr for its design inspiration but it remains a solidly constructed handset with a great display and ergonomic controls. The addition of the purple model is nice as well. The feature set is respectable, save … Read more
When I'm parsing product reviews on Amazon.com I usually look at two things after the price tag: the rating and how many people have reviewed it. This simple system tends to breaks down when it comes time to dig deeper into those sometimes thousands of reviews, which is where Pluribo comes in handy.
This small browser extension will go over everyone's ratings and pull out bits and pieces it finds noteworthy based on a similar words that pop up in rated reviews. The developer says it currently works the best on electronics items but that other items … Read more
A follow-up to my previous post on Qbox: they fixed whatever was preventing the player from playing songs embedded in MySpace pages, and I can now happily recommend it anybody who frequently listens to music on MySpace, Bebo, or YouTube.
A quick recap: the Qbox Web site lets you conduct searches for artists across MySpace, Bebo, and YouTube simultaneously. When results appear, you click a small play button on the Web page and the Qplayer launches and begins playing the song or video. You can conduct other searches and add them to your currently playing list, mixing audio and video … Read more
A fascinating article in the current issue of the Harvard Business Review calls into question some of the now-accepted wisdom about the long tail.
A quick refresher: the long tail theory, popularized by Wired editor Chris Anderson, says that as digital distribution drives distribution costs to zero, businesses will be able to profit by stocking enormous numbers of obscure titles. These titles, which may only sell one or two copies a year, are the tail of the traditional demand curve--the "long tail."
The HBR study, by Anita Elberse, analyzes data from online music and video stores and suggests … Read more
Buzzd, a mobile service focused on "real-time" reviews of bars and restaurants, says it's making some inroads in the tough, crowded location-based networking market.
The New York-based start-up is set to release numbers on Thursday announcing that 1.2 million venues are now listed in its directory, 10 percent of which were added by users. As for demographics, about 80 percent of Buzzd's users (it doesn't provide specifics on active users) are in the U.S., concentrated around cities like New York and Los Angeles, with another 10 percent in Europe and 10 percent in … Read more
I tend to be skeptical of "battle of the bands" contests in the physical world. There's often an entry fee to participate, which basically means bands are paying to play in some sort of showdown showcase. Often there's no quality gate--if you can afford the entry fee, you're in, and that means that the only people in the audience are other participating bands. The prizes tend to be loaded with catches, like a "recording contract" that forces you to sign over your publishing rights to the organization sponsoring the contest.
But it appears … Read more
The Filter is an entertainment recommendation service that asks questions about your taste, then tries to refer you to CDs and DVDs you might be interested in buying. (The site will eventually add other forms of entertainment, such as TV shows.) It's been in a closed beta since earlier this year, and has gotten some press thanks to the involvement of art-rocker Peter Gabriel. On Tuesday, it opened to the masses.
Update: Qbox seems to have fixed the problem, and songs from MySpace now play fine within the Qplayer. See my updated post here.
With the Web allowing any artist to present music to the masses, listeners are less likely to distinguish between the local band they saw down the street and major label acts they heard on the radio. Of course listeners know the difference, but they don't care--they want to be able to flip between all the music they're interested in without hunting each song down on a particular Web site. Unfortunately, local artists with limited resources … Read more
Business reviews site Yelp will be focusing quite a bit on mobile features in the near future, including an upcoming location-aware iPhone app on the way, company representatives told CNET News.com Wednesday.
This will mean that iPhone users will be able to log onto the Yelp application and search for businesses and reviews of establishments close to their geographic coordinates. In other words, you will be able to look and find which sushi restaurants are within five blocks of your location--and see Yelp members' warnings on which ones might make you puke.
The application is still in development and … Read more
I'm not too proud to steal a good idea, in this case Katz's most excellent CNET's HDTV review status report. I, too, get besieged by e-mails asking when we're planning to review camera x, why haven't we yet reviewed camcorder y, as well as escalatingly irritated e-mails as to why I failed to respond to a reader's previous e-mails regarding the previous two questions. And since today is Phil Ryan's last day with us, I, too, have just become a lone reviewer staring down an onrushing tide of the almost 200 new products … Read more