The Internet radio market got another shot of disruption today as Spotify announced its new Spotify Radio, a music-streaming app that will function just like a normal radio station, with the added ability to skip songs you don't like.
During this week's LeWeb tech conference in Paris, which was live-streamed online, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek took to the stage to announce the launch of the new app. Outlining the merits of Spotify Radio, Ek said, "It's kind of like Pandora, but with unlimited skipping and unlimited stations... We think people will love playing around it and we'd love to see what developers will do on top of that."
To get started, users simply click the new "Start Artist Radio" at the top of an artist page and the app will automatically create a radio station and continue to insert new music based on its "intelligent recommendation engine."
This morning Barnes and Noble unleashed their answer to the Kindle Fire, and it's the Nook Tablet. The Nook Tablet focuses on multimedia consumption, and keeps true to its e-reader roots with a great book and magazine reading experience. It's got a 7-inch display with Wi-Fi built-in and 16 GB of storage as well. It's thinner and lighter than the Nook Color, with a much faster 1 GHz dual-core processor as well.
The Nook Tablet also has 1 GB of RAM, and weighs in at under a pound. B&N says you should expect 11.5 hours of battery life from the device, which runs a customized version of Android 2.3. That customization, by the way, means that this isn't the type of Android tablet that you can just take and do your will with. It's geared towards things like reading books/magazines/periodicals, email, Internet browsing, video streaming, etc. In fact, a partnership with Netflix means you'll have deep integration of the platform on this tablet, with suggestions showing up on your home screen. Expect games, music services like Pandora, and other entertainment options (like Hulu) as well.
The Nook Tablet ships on November 18th, and can be pre-ordered now.
Turntable.fm is climbing the charts. According to a story from Betabeat, the Facebook phenom has hit 140,000 active users after just one month. Not a bad showing for a semi-closed beta with a spotty security record.
The popular service effectively combines (free) music-streaming, chat rooms, and voting, all through a Facebook portal. It's similar to Web apps such as Pandora. Turntable.fm allows you to discover new music and create your own custom playlists, only that playlist isn't just for you—you'll share it with other Facebook users in real time.
Add to the exchange a note of gameplay. After you create your DJ avatar, you can create your own room or enter someone else's (if you get overwhelmed there's a randomizer) and interact with other avatars through a chat feature. Each room supports up to five DJs. Take a seat on the stage to share your playlist, created from your own uploads or from the Turntable.fm library.
Gov. Bill Haslam this week signed a bill that would make it illegal to share your password on subscription-based entertainment services like Netflix, Pandora, or Hulu Plus. As the AP explained, the bill is intended to stop hackers who sell batches of passwords, but it could extend to the average user who lets friends or family members watch a movie using their Netflix login or listen to music streams on Rhapsody.
"What becomes not legal is if you send your username and password to all your friends so they can get free subscriptions," bill sponsor Rep. Gerald McCormick, a Republican, told the AP.
Today Pandora is expanding from Simon & Garfunkel to Seinfeld and George Carlin. The Internet radio service is adding 10,000 comedy clips from over 700 comedians to its existing music library.
A host of big names have already taken the stage, including: Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, Cheech & Chong, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Joan Rivers, Richard Pryor, Mitch Hedberg.
"Adding comedians to the mix has been one of the top requests from our listeners," Pandora founder Tim Westergren wrote in a blog post. "We've taken the same approach to comedy as we have to music: carefully and deliberately analyzing comedic 'bits' across a very large number of attributes to capture the style, delivery and content of each performance."
As part of their CES presentation, Pioneer, a company used to making audio and electronic equipment for cars, announced their plans to integrate Twitter, Facebook and Pandora deeper into their devices. This will lead to your dashboard being connected directly to your social feeds. Pioneer says that it believes smartphones don't do the job because of their small screens, plus the fact that they require a driver's full attention. The new devices from Pioneer will read tweets and status updates directly to the user. The company will bring 9 different models in 2011 starting at $150.
Read More | Mashable
When the TiVo Premiere launched, the company made it known that with the new Flash architecture, that it would be much easier to add new apps to the TiVo interface since it was more modular. Well, it took them long enough, but the first real new app feature has arrived in Pandora. You can now log in to your Pandora account and start streaming your favorite channels right from your TiVo. It may take a connection or two to the TiVo service before the feature shows up, but TiVo is saying it’s available now.
Read More | TiVo Blog
Apple’s iOS 4 is set to launch publicly today, and many app developers have been hard at work updating their apps to support the new iOS 4 functions. Today, one of the most popular apps that exists, Pandora, has been updated to allow for backgrounding on iOS 4. What does that mean exactly? Well, now you can fire up Pandora, pick a station, and the music will keep playing, even if you leave the app (similar to iPod.) A double-tap of the home button, and a swipe to the left, will give you widget controls to let you control the music without even going back into the Pandora app. You can get the update now, or if you don’t have it yet, you can download Pandora for free.
Read More | Pandora
We are big fans of Sonos, and were glad to see them as a sponsor of the It Won’t Stay in Vegas blogger party at CES 2010. We stopped by their setup to chat with them about Sonos, and their latest releases, the Sonos S5 and their new CR200 Controller 200. Check the video out if you are interested in an all-in-one music device that can pull content from just about anywhere.
A big thank you to Bing for sponsoring Gear Live’s CES 2010 coverage.
Sonos is looking to market to the iPhone and iPod touch crowd with their new ZonePlayer S5 wireless music system. If you’re familiar with Sonos, you know that the price of entry has always been a bit high historically. The ZonePlayer S5 brings that price down to about $400. You plug it in to a router, and you are good to go with the ability to play your entire music library, as well as music from services like Rhapsody, Napster, Last.fm, and others, by using your iPhone as the remote control.
The price rises if you don’t have an Ethernet port handy for the S5, as you would then also need to buy a ZoneBridge, which allows you to connect the ZonePlayer S5 (as well as any other ZonePlayers you have) to your network wirelessly. We definitely think this is a positive step in the right direction for Sonos. By adding an all-on-one ZonePlayer/speaker to their line-up at this much lower price point, they’ve made it enticing to check them out to see what all the fuss is about. We’d pick up a ZonePlayer S5 over a Bose Sounddock any day of the week.
Read More | Sonos ZonePlayer S5 Demo
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