The Sonos Playbar is a product that filled us with excitement when it was announced, and we are back with our Playbar review. With the Playbar, Sonos enters the home theater market with a pretty sound strategy--provide a soundbar that puts out a 3.0 sound signal, and allow it to be paired with the Sonos SUB for those who want 3.1 sound…then, make it even better by allowing two Sonos PLAY:3 speakers to be used as a full on 5.1 surround sound system.
Of course, for the ultimate Sonos 5.1 setup, you'll have to pay an additional $699 for the SUB and $598 for the two PLAY:3 units, an additional $1,397 above the $699 price of the Playbar. So, while we will touch on the 3.1 and 5.1 configurations, we are here to bring you a Sonos Playbar review that focuses on the standalone abilities of the ambitious soundbar. Has it been worth the wait? We explore the answer in our full Playbar review--read on.
It is highly speculated that 2013 is the year that Apple's Tim Cook, or Phil Schiller, will walk on stage at an Apple event rocking something special under his sleeve. Something that you quite possibly couldn't live without. An iWatch.
Rumors are at an all-time high as speculation that Apple is getting serious about getting into the nascent smart wristwatch game, taking on the likes of upstart Cookoo watch and the KickStarter funded Pebble smart watch. Many agree that smart wearable computing is the way of the future. For instance, companies have given their take on wearable computers like, Nike's FuelBand, Jawbone's Up, Fitbit's activity trackers and, most recently, Google Glass. Perhaps, Apple can make them all obsolete with the iWatch. Bloomberg has written a fairly ridiculous essay as to why it might be more lucrative and, more likely, in Apple's best interest to ship an iWatch first rather than an iTV television set.
It started as a petition needing only 100,000 signatures requesting that the White House make an official response to the right of cellphone owners to lawfully unlock their cellphones. The Library Of Congress deemed unlocking one's cellphone illegal in October 2012; a ruling that would take affect in the new year. Now, the White House has officially announced that they too agree with the 114K petitioners. It recommends that cellphones be unlocked as long as the customers first meet their carrier's contractual agreement. The White House has even included tablets to the list of devices. Consequently, the Library of Congress has agreed and support the review their policy, which was strongly urged by the FCC.
"The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It’s common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers’ needs." - White House Administration
Read More | White House
Today BlackBerry announced the release of the BlackBerry 10 software update 10.0.10.85, and with it comes a bunch of improvements that users of the BlackBerry Z10 have been asking for. For starters, third party application performance has been improved, as many were sluggish. Importing calendars and contacts gets some attention too, as does the camera, which now takes better photos in low-light situations. The Z10 web browser receives optimizations for viewing videos embedded into Web sites, and lastly, there are over 60 improvements made that go into extending the life of the battery. You'll definitely wanna grab this update if you're a Z10 user. To get it, just head to Settings on the device, select Software Updates, and then Check for Updates and follow the onscreen instructions. The update is about 150 MB, so you'll probably wanna make sure you're on Wi-Fi for this one.
Read More | BlackBerry
Two weeks after releasing OS X 10.8.3 build 12D68, Apple has seeded build 12D74 to developers. As has been the case with the last few 10.8.3 previews of Mountain Lion, there are no major changes, and no known issues. This one is just taking a while to finally be released to the public for some reason. Apple is asking devs to focus on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, graphics drivers, and Safari. Go and grab it is you've got a dev membership!
Yesterday, Groupon hit us with a massively disappointing first-quarter earnings report, which saw its stock tumble by over 25% after hours, and now CEO Andrew Mason is out. Someone had to take the fall, and the burden came on the shoulders of Mason, who'll be replaced in the interim by Ted Leonsis and Eric Lefkofsky while the board finds a new CEO. Mason released a letter to employees, and also made it public, admitting that he knew it would leak anyway--give it a read after the break.
Read More | Groupon
If you love listening to Pandora when you're on the go, you may have to start paying up. Pandora has announced that it will now be capping mobile users to 40 hours of listening per month. If you reach that cap, the music will stop, and you'll need to pay a fee of $.99 if you'd like to continue listening for the remainder of the month. The reason behind this is the rising costs of the per-track royalty rates that Pandora has to pay.
"Pandora’s per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25% over the last 3 years, including 9% in 2013 alone and are scheduled to increase an additional 16% over the next two years. After a close look at our overall listening, a 40-hour-per-month mobile listening limit allows us to manage these escalating costs with minimal listener disruption."
Pandora says this should only affect about 4% of its users, so it shouldn't be a huge deal. Subscribers to the Pandora One service, which eliminated the ads altogether for $36 per year, are not affected.
Read More | Pandora
A Roomba for your barbecue grill. That's what the Grillbot is, and it sounds like something that many could use. Sure, it's just about the end of winter now, but those summer months are coming, and we'd bet there are plenty of crusty grills out there. the Grillbot promises to do the work for you, using its wire brushes to get everything shining again. The grill cleaning robot features push button operation, three motors with replaceable grill brushes, LCD display, timer, and alarm. You can get the Grillbot in orange, blue, red, or black beginning this June, selling for $69.95, or $99.95 for the premium model. Check out a video of how it all works after the break, if you don't mind ridiculous music.
Read More | Grillbots
The big rumor on the street about the next Xbox is that Microsoft will block used games from working with the console. Reports from sources have hit various news outlets saying that the new Xbox, which should launch later this year, will require mandatory game installs to the hard drive of the console, and will require an activation code in order to get them to play. Once the code is used, that game is activated for that console specifically (or, maybe, that specific Gamertag,) and won't work on other consoles, effectively killing the used game market.
Read More | MCV India
Spotify for iOS has just received a massive overhaul, bringing the UI in line with the look that Android's been sporting for a while. iOS users now get access to features like the swiping method for accessing different areas of the Spotify app (similar to what you can do in the Facebook iOS app.) The "Now Playing" area shows you the artist and track name no matter where you are navigating in the app, right above the play controls. You can swipe here to go to the next or previous track with ease. You also get bug fixes and overall improvements to stability, as well as the Ford SYNC AppLink Spotify feature that we mentioned yesterday. You can grab the update now from the App Store, and peep the full changelog after the break.
Read More | Spotify
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