Wow. The best deal in music just got a whole lot better, as Microsoft has announced that the $14.99 per month Zune Pass will now allow subscribers to download and keep 10 tracks per month, which is a $10 value. Those tracks are yours, permanently, even if your Zune Pass subscription comes to an end. Participating labels include EMI Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner Music, and independents like INgrooves, Independent Online Distribution Alliance, and The Orchard. Tracks downloaded from Sony BMG and UMG will be DRM-free MP3s, which tracks from EMI and Warner also include MP3 files, there are also some WMAs still hanging around. The Zune guys say that soon, 90 percent of the music in the Zune Marketplace will be in the MP3 format.
So when you break this down, if you subscribe to the Zune Pass, and download 10 tracks a month, you are really just paying $5 for unlimited access to the huge catalog of music available in the Zune Marketplace. We can’t think of a better, legal deal in music than what Microsoft is offering with Zune right now. Can you? At this point, we see no reason to fire up iTunes to do our music purchasing.
If you’ve followed us for any amount of time, then you’d be familiar with our gadget and tech video show, Bleeding Edge TV. You can find it here on Gear Live, on YouTube, on Blip.tv, and a bunch of other places on the interwebs. However, today we are happy to tell you that if you are a FiOS TV subscriber, you can catch the show there as well, on demand. To check it out, just pull up On Demand, and go into The Cutting Edge category. From there, choose Blip.tv, and you’ll find us (along with other top Blip-hosted programming). Expect to see our other show, Unboxing Live up there shortly as well.
For those of you on other cable systems, no worries - we are working hard to bring our content to your cable boxes as well. In the meantime, the Internet will have to do.
The rumor mill is buzzing today about the soon-to-be-released iPhone 2.2 firmware. iPhone Hellas is saying that we can expect iPhone 2.2 to be available for download on November 21, a mere 10 days away. We have no reason to doubt, since the 2.2 firmware has been in beta for a while now, and everything sounds like it working nicely. With iPhone OS 2.2 you can expect things like walking directions, Google Street View, public transportation information, the ability to share your location with others, over-the-air podcast updates and downloads, and your overall bug fixery.
This is certainly an update we are primed and ready to enjoy, so let’s hope this rumor holds true, cool?
Read More | iPhone Hellas
DHL, a popular shipping alternative to FedEX, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service announced today in a press release that it will end all domestic shipping services effective January 30, 2009. According to the release, DHL’s U.S. Express business will focus entirely on its international offerings and will discontinue its domestic-only air and ground services, eliminating its U.S. ground hubs, and reducing the number of stations from 412 to 103. This will result in a reduction of 9,500 U.S. jobs at DHL Express on top of the approximately 5,400 positions already reduced since January; retaining 3,000 to 4,000 U.S. Express employees, tailored to the needs of international express customers. This reduction is expected to allow DHL’s U.S. Express business to reduce its operating costs from $5.4 billion to under $1 billion, a decrease of over 80%.
We’re hoping that this loss in competition doesn’t drive up the cost of shipping, seeing as the majority of our gadgets are doorstep-delivered by one of these shipping giants. Cross your fingers.
An analyst has confirmed that Apple has made it to number 2 where smartphone vendors are concerned. The iPhone has become a holder of 17.3 percent of the market share with RIM trailing at 15.2 percent. Apple also came in with the highest marks in customer satisfaction, operation, physical design, operating system, battery aspects, and features. RIM could bounce back to the 2nd place mark with the Bold and Storm, but with the growing sales of iPhone and the “coolness” of the Apple brand, it will certainly be a challenge for RIM. The results are due to the 6.9 million iPhones shipped during the summer months with no signs of slowdown even though the economy has moved in the other direction.
Read More | J.D. Power
With Gears of War 2 getting ready to drop tomorrow, bringing Submergence Day to all fans of the franchise, Microsoft is also releasing a Gears of War 2 Limited Edition Zune. You might remember that they did something similar with the original Zune to coincide with the release of Halo 3. With the GOW2 Zune, Microsoft has pre-loaded a bunch of Gears content on the device itself. A bunch of images of art, the entire Gears of War soundtrack, along with quite a few pieces of video content related to both Gears of War and Gears of War 2.
We were able to get our hands on the Gears of War 2 Zune before its release, and have snapped a bunch of photos showing off the fantastic box art, the Zune device itself, and all the bonus content included on the device. Be sure and check it all out in our Gears of War 2 Zune unboxing gallery.
Read More | Gears of War 2 Zune gallery
Now that’s what we’re talking about! AT&T Movility President Ralph De La Vega just dropped the official word that the iPhone will be gaining the ability to be wirelessly tethered to notebooks, giving you 3G internet access on your laptop wherever your iPhone has a 3G signal. Just about every other smartphone that is the caliber of the iPhone has this ability, so it’s been a long time coming. No definite date given or anything, but at least now we know that iPhone tethering is on the horizon.
Read More | Technologizer
We know a lot of you Xbox 360 owners are counting down the days to November 19th, which is the day that everyone will be able to download the New Xbox Experience dashboard update. Until then, we figured we’d give you a nice, full walkthrough of the update and its interface. Our friends up in Redmond were able to send the update to one of our two Xbox 360 consoles, which in turn, allows us to bring you this exclusive first-look walkthrough.
We show you everything, from the boot-up video, the new HDTV display output options, Xbox avatars, Netflix, and a whole lot more. Our early thoughts? We love it. In fact, we love it so much, that we now hate our second Xbox 360, which still has the old, busted blade interface. We want NXE on that one as well.
One thing we mentioned in the video that we need to clarify, though. As it turns out, Netflix HD streaming should be available on other Netflix-enabled hardware devices on November 19th as well, as opposed to HD streaming being exclusive to the Xbox 360 at first.
Oh, and be sure to check our New Xbox Experience gallery if you wanna see some screenshots in addition to the video - and if you have any NXE questions about anything we didn’t cover, or didn’t delve into enough, let us know on the forum.
Update: Within two hours, I got a call from a Comcast representative who stated that, since the payments were made by credit card automatically, there is no reason they can’t credit it back to that credit card. She went on to tell me that they’d process the refund tomorrow. Very cool. However, I wonder what the response would have been if we hadn’t been paying by credit card, and instead used ACH transfer from a bank account. In any event, the Comcast folks on Twitter really are listening, and really are aiming to put out fires. Good stuff.
This morning I opened mail from Comcast, which, to my surprise, showed that I was two months late on paying up. I thought that was odd, since I kicked Comcast to the curb for Verizon FiOS two months ago. I called and got it taken care of, to find that I was owed $72 and that it would arrive in 6-8 weeks. Kind of annoying, but no big deal. Then they called me back, to tell me that I had another active account that has been auto-debiting from one of my accounts. That one was to have been cancelled back in May. Once that was straightened out, the damage was that Comcast owes me a cool $772. I asked when I’d receive it, and they said 6-8 weeks. I thought that was fairly crappy, being that when I cancelled the services, I also revoked Comcast’s right to take any money from my private accounts. I threw up a gripe on Twitter, and a few minutes later, Comcast’s Twitter customer service went into full effect. Gotta give them props for that. They asked me to email them the details, so they could look into it. You can read the email I sent them, after the break. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts. We will update with any progress made on this, let’s see how customer service on these Web 2.0 Internets works. [Photo Credit]
The Dark Knight will be released Dec. 9 in both a standard and Limited Edition box. Both versions are in widescreen 2.4:1 1080p video with 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio. The deluxe set includes 2 discs, a Bat-Pod display case, art galleries and movie extras such as behind the scenes. You can pre-order at Amazon now for $47.95, temporarily marked down from $64.99.
Read More | Amazon
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