Tesla looks like a real car company all of a sudden; lifetime free traffic looking like the norm for GPS; new Pioneer AVIC gets married to Pandora mobile; TV broadcasts in your car have hit a snag; and we roll in our favorite sports sedan: the AMG C63.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 170 SHOW NOTES
We were pretty impressed with Pioneer's AVIC-Z110BT when we reviewed it last year (we're talking Editors' Choice impressed), but that was last year, a veritable eternity ago in the consumer electronics world. What have you done for us lately, Pioneer?
Most recently, Pioneer has announced an update to its flagship model with its reveal of the AVIC-Z120BT in-dash navigation system, a double-DIN receiver that features some pretty heavy integration with Pioneer's software suite for multimedia and GPS navigation: PandoraLink, MusicSphere, and AVIC Feeds.
The new Z120BT combines the features we loved from the Z110, such as the … Read more
Facebook made several important announcements on Wednesday. I'll leave the details to others--this is a music-focused blog, after all--but I think that Facebook's leaders have positioned it as the infrastructure provider of the emerging social Web and potentially as the first Internet company to challenge Google's dominance in online advertising.
Basically, now that everybody (400 million users) is on Facebook, the company is trying to extend itself to the rest of the Web, allowing you to broadcast your likes and dislikes from other sites back to your Facebook friends, and allowing your Facebook social graph to extend … Read more
Earlier this year, at CES and the Detroit auto show, Ford gave us demonstrations of Sync's new mobile app capability. Taking it to production stage, Ford announced that this new Sync feature, called AppLink, will make its debut in the all-new Ford Fiesta, entering showrooms this summer.
Initially, AppLink will work with Pandora, Stitcher, and OpenBeak on BlackBerry and Android smartphones. Pandora offers customizable Internet radio stations; Stitcher compiles and plays podcasts and other Internet audio; and OpenBeak is a twitter app. AppLink lets you control these apps using the car's radio controls.
During our demonstrations of … Read more
For years, Pandora and other Web radio stations fought to reduce the royalty rates they were required to pay artists and record labels.
Last July, the music industry and Webcasters reached an agreement and it now appears both sides are reaping the benefits. On Friday, SoundExchange, the group appointed by Congress to collect royalties on behalf of artists and copyright owners, said it has begun distributing $51.7 million, the largest quarter the nonprofit group has ever recorded.
The amount represents a 135 percent increase over the same period last year and is nearly $10 million larger than the previous … Read more
Web radio and cloud music are hot--largely thanks to the recent success of Pandora, but that doesn't stop Michael Robertson from declaring that what online radio currently offers is "lame."
Robertson, the controversy-courting founder of MP3.com and Linspire, is preparing to roll out a new online music service called BYO.fm. He said that BYO taps into Web radio's potential to enable users to act as their own program directors.
"All online radio does now is transfer audio over the Web," Robertson said. "Web radio should be personalized."
BYO, which stands … Read more
Update 2-26-10, 6:17 a.m. To include quotes from Spotify and to clarify that NPD's numbers were for U.S. only.
NEW YORK--Free on-demand music sites haven't fared very well when it comes to driving song sales.
Russ Crupnick, an analyst with market researcher NPD Group, told a crowd of music and tech executives here Wednesday that free streaming-music sites, which enable people to listen to any song at any time free of charge, lead to a 13 percent decrease in paid downloads.
Speaking at the Digital Music Forum East conference, Crupnick sized up the situation this … Read more
It feels like a critical time for music listening right now. Free streaming services like Pandora and Last.fm are poised to take off, but they're hampered by slow rollout, customer confusion, and the fact that labels like Warner are totally freaked out by free streaming and yanking their music from them.
On the other hand, terrestrial radio is virtually unlistenable, due to its crowd-pleasing format of two songs, then a 30-minute commercial block that's cleverly timed with every other station's 30-minute commercial block. Add to that the constant repetition of the same five songs and radio … Read more
At long last, the Zune Phone is here. Microsoft isn't calling it that--apparently it thought the name Windows Phone 7 Series rolled off the tongue a bit more easily--but the next generation of Microsoft's smartphone software not only features the entire Zune HD software and services experience (just like the iPod became a component of the iPhone), but the entire user interface itself bears a close resemblance to the Zune HD.
To be clear, Microsoft isn't building the hardware like it did with Zune--rather, partners like HTC, LG, and Samsung will do that work. But a lot of what the company learned from several iterations of Zune design has been rolled into its mobile platform.
Microsoft introduced Windows Phone 7 Series Monday morning at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and there's a lot to wrap your head around. I'll leave the full rundown to others at CNET, but one of the most interesting aspects is the way Microsoft seems to be trying to get rid of the notion of "apps," which have become the iPhone's calling card and are widely imitated by every other smart phone OS out there.
I don't mean that Windows Phone 7 Series phones won't support third-party applications--of course they will. But you won't interact with those applications by selecting a specific icon, opening an app, doing whatever you want to do, then closing it and moving on to something else. … Read more
I'd like to give a tiny Golden Globe to all the fine people who put together these incredibly detailed Avatar Lego dioramas. That's my kind of 3D.
Many of these are repurposed from older Lego sets, such as Halo and (gasp!) "Toy Story," which in a way is an apt metaphor for Avatar itself, no? Either way, another win for the hobbyists! (More photos after the jump.)