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All posts tagged "mp3 player"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mango Will Take Windows Phone's Zune Experience Up a Notch

Posted by Nelson Ocampo in "Windows Phone News" @ 08:00 PM


"It appears the leaks were true. Zune on Windows Phone Mango has received a nice update. Using the Mango emulator provided with the Windows Phone Developer Tools, we were able to access certain hidden features like Bing Vision, Bing Audio, Local Scout, and more."

picture from anythingbutiphone.com

In addition to some beautiful cosmetic changes, it appears that we'll also be seeing some key functionality improvements to bring it on par with the Zune HD device. My favorite improvement would be the visibility of the music playing controls on the lock screen. Sure, it's not that hard to press "power" and then "volume" to get to the controls right now, but this is a slight bit of streamlining that I surely will appreciate. The ability to have the artist's imagery on the lock screen when their music is playing is also a pretty nifty feature.Click the link to find out more about some other functionality and podcast support.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Look Ma, No Hands! The PodFlexPro Reviewed

Posted by Matthew Shanks in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Travelling light is a challenge for many people. Travelling light if you're a technology buff is next to impossible. Between laptops, netbooks, cameras, phones, iPods, iPads, cords and chargers, many travellers now carry a bag filled with just their grown-up toys. Add a toddler into the mix and you have a recipe for carry-on luggage trouble. I found myself in this situation not too long ago travelling on vacation with my wife and daughter on a long flight (just shy of seven hours). I knew keeping an 18 month old toddler amused (not to mention myself) on such a lengthy flight would be a challenge, so I stuffed my gadget bag and off we went. Read more...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pose Your Gadgets with the Friendly Neighborhood Spiderpodium

Posted by Anjuan Simmons in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Gadgets are usually in one of two places: a hand or a storage location (pocket, carrying case, purse, etc.). However, there are many times when a gadgets needs to be in a "third place". For example, a digital camera may need to be put on a table to take a time delayed picture of a group of people. Or, a smartphone with GPS capability may need to be positioned on a bicycle handle in order to measure speed, pace, and distance along a trail. The Spiderpodium ($19.99 direct) by Breffo seeks to be the accessory that you reach for during these "third place” moments. Read more...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ultrasone Wants to Save Your Ears

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 09:45 AM


Ever since the advent of the Walkman, researchers have been warning us that we're all about to go deaf. I don't know if those fears have been realized yet since I still don't hear about scores of the Walkman generation showing up for hearing aids. Maybe people have been heeding the warnings!

Whatever the case, the warnings have hardly abated over the years and there's been new warnings and research that has come out recently that shows that hearing loss in teens is on the rise. This really isn't surprising to me since as we've transitioned to digital music its become trivial to have your entire library of music in your pocket.

The challenge is finding a way to play your music at lower levels and still enjoy it the same. There does come a point where you start to lose things in the music if you can't put the volume high enough. Of course, if you make yourself deaf trying to find all the subtle nuances of your heavy metal, it may end up as a moot point eventually.

Ultrasone says that they have the answer with their S-Logic technology. They claim that it can decrease pressure on your inner ear by up to 40% which is definitely a pretty positive thing. Not only that, but Ultrasone says that because it delivers the sound more naturally, that your listening experience will actually be improved.

Safety and quality come at a price, however. Ultrasone only appears to provide over the ear headphones and all start at over $100 and go up into the thousands. If you're an extreme audiophile who demands the best listening experience and and want to ensure your hearing safety, this could be the answer for you. Its a pretty expensive solution for what is, admittedly, a pretty significant issue.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Boston Herald Tries Out Three High-End Players

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Digital Home Talk" @ 09:30 AM


"When you talk about high-end touchscreen personal media players, as they’re more commonly called, that talk usually turns to the iPod Touch, admittedly a great gadget. But with Apple getting so much attention these days, we thought we’d seek out some alternatives to the Touch. For the past three weeks, I’ve been putting three touchscreen MP3 players through their paces, loading each one with a carefully selected MP3 playlist that includes everything from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and videos ranging from Lady Jane Boleyn episodes in “The Tudors” to Lady Gaga in “Bad Romance.” I surfed the Web, listened to FM radio, checked e-mail, went on my Facebook account and even checked out apps."

The Boston Herald recently put three different high-end media players through the paces, and offers a good article on the benefits of each. Paul Restuccia loves the Zune HD for its bouncy music effects, the Archos 5 for its video, and the Sony X-Series Walkman for its sharp design. All of the players get demerits for their comparatively few apps available, but such is the state of the market now. Click through to the read link to check out the full article and let us know if you bought any of these players and what appealed to you about them.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Zune Originals Rant

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 03:23 PM

Now that the Zune HD 64 is out, I’m ready to move up to the next generation of Zune devices. Not that there is anything at all wrong with my Zune 80. Quite the opposite really, my Zune 80 is trucking right along! But there is no denying that that beautiful OLED screen is calling my name. I’m also hoping that with Zune becoming part of the Windows Phone 7 OS, there is a chance we might see some meaningful applications released for it.

Unfortunately I can’t make the purchase for a few months. I’m out of the country right now and would have no easy way to get it. On top of that, I can’t even look at it online. International Zune fans, I fully understand your pain now. Microsoft doesn’t even let me look at the Zune Originals site from Australia. I find that ridiculous.

I was in Baltimore last week though for a few days and discovered that maybe Microsoft is hiding the Zune Originals site out of embarrassment. I wasn’t there long enough to consider a purchase but I could at least look at the options on Originals. Maybe I don’t remember very well but I could have sworn there used to be a lot more options than there are now.

Now there are about 30 artist series options, a few horrible video game options (really, they almost all suck), and the option to put the logo from your favorite MLS team on the back of your Zune. Really, Microsoft, we get MLS? I’m sure Microsoft is just trying to get whatever deals they can but sometimes less is more. A device that can be used almost only in the United States can be customized with a sport that no one cares about at all.

The color options were nice but the artwork was really just not very compelling at all. The whole Zune Originals idea is great but if the options are going to be so watered down, maybe Microsoft should just sell Zunes in different colors and do away with Originals all together.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Zune HD 64 GB Models Hitting the Streets

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 11:37 AM


Engadget was sent some images of someone taking photos of their new 64 GB Zune HD, but let's face it, the above photo is as exciting as it gets - these are the same Zune HDs that are already out there, only with more storage. Still, if you've been waiting for a 64 GB Zune, it's finally here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Zune 4.5 Video Walkthrough

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 07:30 AM


"A couple of days ago I mentioned that there was a Zune HD firmware update available, version 4.5, and then when I arrived home I performed the update. I had to connect a couple of times and prompt to refresh the software update check before my netback found an update available, but then everything went smoothly. In addition to the new features I mentioned earlier there was another surprise in the update, no more commercials in the games."

Matthew Miller over at ZDNet did a nice little video walk through of the new Zune HD 4.5 firmware. I have to say that the features he highlighted looked really nice. Having the Smart DJ functionality available right on the Zune looks like a great feature. I'm definitely a little jealous since I'm still holding onto my Zune 80.

If only they had a Zune HD in sizes larger than 32 GB. Oh wait, it's finally almost here! Finally a Zune HD looks to be in my near future. The only question I have now is will it be blue or red?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Zune HD 64 GB, Coming April 12th

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 09:11 AM

It's official - starting on April 12th, you'll be able to order a 64 GB Zune HD from ZuneOriginals.net for $349.99 USD. Microsoft is also lowering the price of the current models; the 16 GB model will be $199.99 USD MSRP, and the 32 GB model will be $269.99 USD MSRP. For all of you who wanted a Zune HD but said you wouldn't buy one until Microsoft offered a 64 GB model, now you have your wish. How many of you will be picking up the 64 GB Zune HD?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Music Organization: Which Application Wins?

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 12:30 PM


MaximumPC has done an interesting side by side comparison of the big three options out there for music organization on your home PC. To be honest, most people will have a hard time really making much of a selection based on the software and are far more likely to be choosing based on what their device of choice is. In the case of the iPod and Zune, we’re mostly tied to using the software designed for it.

But if you don’t like your options with your current software solution, it’s certainly not impossible to use a different program to manage your media and a different one to load your player. The three that MaximumPC looks at are iTunes (of course), Zune, and Songbird. Read more...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nvidia Announces Next Gen Tegra

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 03:09 PM


Nvidia had their CES press event today and among the announcements were details on the next generation Tegra chip. The Tegra powers, among other things, the Zune HD and from everything I’ve seen it’s a very impressive chip already. The current Tegra runs the ARM11 chip. The new Tegra is going to be running the dual core Cortex-A9.

They also said that there will be 8 independent processors so if I understand the transcript from Engadget correctly, that means 16 cores total on the new Tegra (I didn't understand correctly. Thanks bitbyte for pointing out there are actually 2 Cortex A9 processors). All while only consuming 500 milliwatts. They claim this will allow for 140 hours of music and 16 hours of HD video but of course, that will depend on a lot of factors unrelated to the Tegra alone.

Nvidia’s biggest announcement for Tegra is that it will be powering all Audi cars starting in 2011. I assume that means the 2012 model years but they don’t specify in the live blog on Engadget. There is no mention of the Zune or other devices specifically but they do say there are 50 devices in the pipe for the new Tegra.

I think a combination of Tegra, Windows Phone 7, and the Zune all on one platform could make for a killer device.

Check out the rest of the live blog on Engadget. They have other announcements involving 3D on our laptops, which I’m sure everyone is excited about and lots of great pictures and slides from the Nvidia’s presentation.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Shocker: iPod Wins CNET Prizefight

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 12:34 PM

This is a little after the fact since this has been sitting in my queue for a while, but here we go anyway! This is why I hate that people think the Zune needs applications to compete in the market. CNET’s prize fight is a little absurd because we have two devices that in reality can provide the same service but really don’t do the same thing. I’ll save you the time…the iPod Touch blows away the Zune HD 4.5 to 4.0 in the 5 round fight. But they’re comparing two different things throughout the fight. I feel like they may as well compare a Zune and a Corvette and dock the Zune points for not putting out 400HP. Yeah sure, they both play music!

If you want a device for a little music, applications, games…go get a Touch. If you want multimedia device that’s dedicated to music and video, go get a Zune. They’re just not comparable and not because one is better than the other. If you take away application store out from the Zune equation, and there isn't much you're losing out on, then the Zune is not competing with a Touch at all. But because it has one it does compete. Poorly.

In most reviews I’ve seen, including CNET, the Zune wins on sound and screen quality. The navigation is considered on par with the iPod. Some like the Zune better while others like the iPod better but I think everyone can agree both devices are very good on that front and then it’s just personal preference. Both devices are well liked for the physical design. If I’m looking for a portable media player, the Zune just won on sound and picture. If I’m looking for a PDA, I’m getting an iPod.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tegra 2 Details Coming At CES

Posted by Josh Sorenson in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:30 PM


"Full details regarding Tegra 2 are unknown, but it's expected to have roughly twice the power and graphical capabilities of the original and be based on 40nm processes. The current-gen Tegra is already capable of 1080p HD video; Hara says NVIDIA's goal is the desktop internet and media experience in a portable device:"

The first Tegra chip is mouth watering enough, but imagine a chip that can handle twice what the current Tegra does. That is just what Nvidia's Tegra 2 is rumored to do. They are set to release more details at CES 2010, including some demo products from their partners. The first half of next year will bring us tablet PCs, smartbooks, netbooks, and MIDs all powered by Tegra 2. Later down the line will we see a second generation Zune HD based off of the new chip? Or a Windows phone? Only time will tell on that one.

Zune Finally Good Enough To Clone

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 08:30 AM


"Taiwan's MSI, known mainly for its PCs, has released its latest portable media player, the MT-V660. The device is styled after Microsoft's Zune HD and uses a Rockchip RK2806 chipset along with a 3.2-inch display with a 480x320 resolution."

While Apple's iPod line has had a quadrillion copy cats, Microsoft's Zune has remained relatively unscathed until now. With the Zune HD getting rave reviews it was only a matter of time before similar looking products started showing up. If I were Microsoft, I would feel flattered! The fact that this one comes from MSI is a bit of a surprise, but it appears that the less euphoniously named MT-V660 appears to offer playback for a wealth of formats. Whether it will support the rest of the features a Zune HD offers, and have as slick an interface remains to be seen. One thing that is certain though, is that it will be sold beyond the US border.

Monday, December 14, 2009

ABI's Top MP3 Player Picks of 2009

Posted by Josh Sorenson in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 PM


"It's that time of year when we lay out our top picks for the year. 2009 was the year of the touch player- consumers demanded them and manufactures responded. If you notice that this year's list resembles last years and that's because many of the manufacturer's this year made some awesome incremental improvements in their current line of players."

Sony Walkman X-1000

Grahm Skee over at AnythingButiPod has come up with a top 5 list of the MP3 Players from this year. My personal favorite, the Zune HD, came in 4th place because of its locked in ecosystem. Leading the pack was the Sansa Clip+ with its cheap price and newly added MicroSD card slot. Are there any players that you think should have been in there? What's your top 5 list of MP3 Players? Let us know in the comments.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How Will Zune Evolve?

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 07:00 AM

"Microsoft is considering whether it should port the Zune software and services to other platforms, including Apple’s. There’s no guarantee that the Redmondians will end up doing this - or timetable as to when this could happen - but it’s one of many strategies under active consideration. That’s what I heard today from Jose Pinero, Director of Communications for Microsoft’s TV, Video and Music Business. I had a chance to chat with Pinero at Microsoft’s consumer open-house showcase in New York on October 6."

Going along with the news of a definite Microsoft commitment to putting the Zune platform on Windows phones, this article at ZDNet is even more interesting. Microsoft would be willing, going forward to support other platforms, including Apple. What exactly does that mean? Just Zune software on the Mac? Apparently not! Microsoft even is thinking in terms of direct iPod support. Now I don't know if that's realistic or not but its something they have on the table.

The bigger picture you get from this article is Microsoft's view of what the Zune platform is to their business. Zune has always been somewhat strange for Microsoft. They tend to build ecosystems for others to play in. Even the XBox follows that mold since a game system, by default, needs broad support from game publishers to survive and thrive. The Zune though has been Microsoft's closed platform. Microsoft controls the entire experience from end to end.

But that's not how they view the Zune platform internally, according to this article. Zune is viewed as their media platform for their entire product line. They're not talking about the players either. They're talking about the whole Zune experience. Could this mean Microsoft eventually licensing out the mobile platform? After Plays For Sure I'm not sure how many would jump on that.

It will be interesting to see where it goes. With the Zune set to make an appearance eventually on Windows phones, that will certainly give an instantly broader market and really that would be the first real challenge to iPod/iPhone dominance because that platform is widespread enough to compete already. Many people are happy to carry one device around and I could see that more than anything causing some erosion in the DMP market.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ballmer Confirms Zune Coming To Windows Mobile!

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 12:53 PM


"What is Zune HD? Zune HD is a couple things. Number one, Zune HD is a music player with a nice music service. By the way, the same software will be available on Windows Phones and Windows PCs. You have that today on the PC, you'll see that in our phone environment as well."

Straight from Ballmer's mouth to your eyes and ears. Ballmer dropped this tasty morsel during an interview with CNET. Now of course there is no mention of WHEN, but like pocketnow.com, I believe it won't happen until the Windows Mobile 7 OS launches. Even the most powerful of the current crop of Windows Mobile devices probably would choke on a full Zune HD experience.

This is, without a question, excellent news. Microsoft desperate needs to integrate its different platforms in an intelligent way and this is absolutely one of them. I no longer use Windows Mobile (I switched to Android almost a year ago) and I was just saying today I can't see a reason I'd come back. This could be a reason. This would be a major upgrade over WMP at least!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Secret Life of Nicholas Deleon

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 09:30 AM


"I can live in Mac completely as I normally do, making zero concessions or compromises, then boot into Windows occasionally to sync my music to the Zune HD. I don’t have two separate music libraries or anything, but rather the master Mac iTunes library, then the Zune software builds an index and syncs the music to the Zune HD based on said library. Is it an elegant solution? Maybe not, but it definitely works and is dead simple."

Nicholas Deleon over at CrunchGear has an interesting writeup about his double life as a Mac user and Zune HD fan. Its an interesting perspective from someone who doesn't really use Microsoft products except when he has to. To use his Zune he manages all of his music on his Mac with iTunes and then boots into Windows when he wants to sync. This works for him I think since he's not a subscription user and doesn't add music too often. That said, he must really like the Zune HD because that's a lot of work to use an media player!

Interestingly, he seems to like the Zune software more than iTunes but knows he won't likely be using it anytime soon on the Mac OS. If you're a Mac user and the Zune is at all interesting to you, his article is worth a read!

Friday, September 18, 2009

AnythingButIpod Lists Zune HD Tips & Tricks

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 03:30 PM

"We have slightly modified the wireless sync behavior for Zune HD. Instead of remaining connected once you establish the wireless connection, you will now automatically exit the connection once the player determines there is no content to sync. In the auto sync wireless scenario, the player will continue to attempt to reconnect every 10 minutes if wireless sync has been set-up, the player has AC power, no media is playing, and there is no user activity on the player."

If you are trying to unlock every bit of potential that your new Zune HD has, then you might want to head over to AnythingButIpod and check out their forum post detailing every little thing that you may not have known how to do but want to. Or how to do things that you didn't even think about. ABI has TONS of tips up in its forum so if you're a proud new owner of a Zune HD you should definitely follow the link and see what cool things are hidden!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Zune HD: Good. Shopping For It...Not So Much

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 11:07 AM

"After entering Best Buy I first asked the greeter where I could find the Zune HD. His response, “the what?” I then explained that it was Microsoft’s latest music and video player. He pointed me towards the music device section. Once I arrived in that section I saw the Apple devices on display, the Sansa devices, and then the Zune section. Noticeably absent was the Zune HD."

Geek.com has a combined purchase experience and first impressions review up on the Zune HD. While the Best Buy experience sounds slightly humorous, I think if I was Microsoft I'd be a little annoyed with Best Buy if this was common across all of their stores. Was anyone else in Best Buy at launch to know if this was a common problem or perhaps just something specific to this store? Hopefully this was an isolated problem.

Geek does like the Zune HD overall but I think they have some pretty legitimate gripes with the out of box experience. I don't understand why Microsoft makes the Zune pretty much unusable until you've hooked it up but I've seen this trend in other devices too. My G1 was completely useless until I had it all set up with my GMail account.

The Zune HD really has gotten a pretty good reception so if Microsoft is trying to breath new life into the platform its a good start. Let's see if all of this positive press translates into sales.

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