Kickstarter is filled with some brilliant, some not-so-brilliant and some very strange ideas, and if user interest is any indication, the Pebble ePaper smartwatch can likely be filed under brilliant. Allerta, the company behind the product, opened a Kickstarter page less than a week ago and has already become the most funded project of all time on the site, which allows users to make small and large donations toward projects they want to back. The company’s initial goal was to raise $100,000, however in the past six days the project has accumulated a whopping $3.6 million in funding. Read on for more. More →
Spotify on Friday unveiled Spotify Radio, a new service similar to Pandora that will roll out as an extension to the company’s desktop client. The service allows users to create artist-based stations that will stream an unlimited amount of music similar to the artist selected. Spotify Radio users can also skip an unlimited number of songs and save tracks as they play for on-demand listening later as well. The app and associated service are a welcome addition to Spotify, which has had very limited discovery features until now. The free Spotify Radio app is currently available as a preview and it is expected to land in Spotify’s app catalog within the next few days. Spotify has not indicated whether or not its new radio service will make its way to the company’s mobile apps. More →
Sonos released a new sibling in their audio lineup recently, and it’s called the PLAY:3. You can think of it as a smaller PLAY:5 (what used to be called the S5), and it is definitely up to par with the level of quality that Sonos is known for. There isn’t an actual subwoofer, rather a tweeter and a couple mid-range speakers, though the unit does offer decent bass and low-end performance. You can also create a stereo pair with two PLAY:3 units if you’d like, using one for a left channel and one for the right channel to fill your entire room with audio. The fact you can add all kinds of music services like Spotify, Pandora, Napster, Rhapsody, Rdio, Last.fm, iheartradio and many more, including your local iTunes library, is straight up mind blowing — all your music in true Sonos fashion is at your fingertips, and it just works. At $299, the PLAY:3 makes jumping into a Sonos setup relatively inexpensive, and a setup consisting of a few PLAY:3 units and PLAY:5 units can really create the perfect music listening experience in your home.
Popular European streaming music service Spotify could launch in the U.S. as soon as next week, AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka speculates. Spotify announced earlier this week that it would be taking its talents to the U.S., but it gave no indication as to how soon the launch might occur. AllThingsD says the smart money is on a launch next week, and the blog has historically been accurate with its coverage of the Stockholm-based music start-up. Kafka reaffirms that Spotify only has deals inked with three of the four major U.S. record labels, but he says a deal with Warner Music Group is close enough to being signed that it should be completed ahead of a launch next week. Like Microsoft’s Zune service or Rhapsody, Spotify allows users to stream music on demand, create playlists and more. The service uses a freemium model that permits ad-supported content to be streamed to desktop computers for free, and then offers mobile streaming, playlist sharing and sheds the ads for paid subscribers. Spotify has not yet revealed pricing for the U.S. market. More →
Custom music steaming company Spotify on Wednesday announced that it will soon launch its popular service in the U.S. The company has been rumored to be in negotiations with major U.S. music labels for more than a year now, and it looks like those negotiations finally panned out. “The award-winning music service that’s taken Europe by storm will soon be landing on US shores,” the company said in a statement on its website. “Millions of tracks ready to play instantly, on your computer and your phone.” In markets where the service is currently available, Spotify allows users to stream music on demand for free to PCs. For a monthly fee, the service adds additional features and supports more devices, such as the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Pricing and other details for the U.S. market have not yet been announced. More →
Pandora just announced that it has added a few comedy genres to its streaming radio offering. Much like you’d rate a song or artist, you can give each comedy track a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and Pandora’s “Comedy Genome Project” will recommend different performers based on your tastes. Users can choose a specific comedian, or can select a specific genre such as “political comedy,” “working class comedy,” “PG comedy,” or comedy from the 60, 70s, 80s, 90s, or 2000s. Slacker Radio has had this feature for a while, but if you’re looking for some Lisa Lampanelli to spice up your lunch break, than Pandora should now have you covered as well. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
A new report filed by The Wall Street Journal suggests that New Jersey federal prosecutors are beginning to take a long, hard look at mobile applications. The publication writes that a grand jury will investigate whether iOS and Android applications distributed by Apple and Google “illegally obtain or transmit information about their users without proper disclosures.” Several application makers, including Pandora Media, informed the Journal that were issued subpoenas by the court, but have been told that they are not the target of the impending litigation.
“In early 2011, we were served with a subpoena to produce documents in connection with a federal grand jury, which we believe was convened to investigate the information sharing processes of certain popular applications that run on the Apple and Android mobile platforms,” Pandora noted in a regulatory filing on Monday.
The investigation aims to determine whether mobile application developers have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by transmitting anonymized (read: not so anonymized) data to app makers and/or third-parties. The report notes that prosecutors could charge individuals or companies with a “felony or misdemeanor” or could “pursue civil charges.” Neither Google nor Apple responded to the WSJ‘s request for comment. More →
Back in March of this year, Microsoft proudly announced that Pandora would be one of its big-name Windows Phone 7 launch partners. In an interesting turn of events last week, however, the popular Internet radio provider said on its Twitter account that it has no plans to develop an app for Microsoft’s new platform. Following reports of Pandora’s statement, the company reiterated its position:
I’m not sure if/when we will be available on [Windows Phone 7]. Appreciate everyone’s enthusiastic suggestions. I’m passing the feedback on.
We can’t imagine that Microsoft was lying when it boasted of Pandora’s imminent arrival on the Windows Phone 7 platform, but now Pandora is saying its future on the OS is uncertain. Pandora’s change of heart is yet another blow to Microsoft’s mobile platform as the company struggles to get popular apps on its new OS. Pandora Radio is one of several widely popular apps that would help ease customers’ transitions to WP7, though two of Pandora’s biggest competitors — Slacker and Last.fm — have developed and deployed Windows Phone 7 apps.
UPDATE: A Pandora spokesperson gave BGR the following statement with regard to the company’s plans for Windows Phone 7:
While we’re excited to see companies innovating and while we’re not ready to make an announcement specifically related to the Win 7 phone, we generally want to be everywhere our listeners want us to be.
Today, Panasonic announced that they will add Twitter to the list of built-in web entertainment technologies on their VIERA CAST enabled HDTVs and Blu-ray disc players. The company already offers Skype, Netflix, Pandora, Fox Sports, Amazon Video-On-Demand, YouTube, Picasa, Bloomberg, and weather services on VIERA televisions with the IPTV functionality built-in. Panasonic’s VP of corporate development had this to say:
Since we introduced Panasonic VIERA CAST IPTVs three years ago we have added more and more of the top entertainment and social networking sites in the world. The addition of Twitter to VIERA CASTfurther strengthens the interactive options Panasonic VIERA HDTV owners can now use to communicate with family and friends worldwide. Consumers with VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVS can now tweet on Twitter, video chat via Skype, share videos on YouTube and digital photos via Google Picasa right from the comfort of their living rooms.”
Maybe the future of HDTV isn’t in 3D and ridiculous refresh rates… maybe it’s applications? We’ve got the full press release for you after the break. Let us know if functionality like this is something that interests you, or if you think it is just something that will get in the way of your television-viewing enjoyment. More →
You can’t get your hands on iOS 4 just yet, but rest assured that when you can, Pandora will be ready for you. In an app update released today, Pandora added the multitasking capabilities that the iLoving masses have been waiting for. Of course, Android, webOS, and BlackBerry users are unimpressed by this; having had it for what seems like years. But hey…try to be nice to those iPhone users out there, it is a big day for them.
UPDATE: iOS 4 is out in the wild. If you’re interested, and we can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be if you are an iPhone owner, go and grab it! More →
It’s pretty incomprehensible that until about two weeks ago, I had never used a piece of Sonos equipment. Heard about it, and read about it? Sure, but never used it. What MP3s did for personal audio enjoyment 5 years ago, Sonos does for your home, office, or wherever you want today, ingeniously creating a seamless and practically unlimited expandable system. Sonos is literally one of the coolest things I’ve seen in years; not because they reinvented the wheel (even though they kind of did in some places), but because it works. More →
One of our favorite set-top boxes, Roku, has just announced that it is launching the Roku Channel Store. The good news for you couch potatoes is that the first 10 channels are free. The open platform for sharing content on TV will allow you to share pictures and video, and listen to Internet radio and podcasts. New channels available to add right now are Pandora, Facebook Photos, Flickr and TWiT (This Week In Tech). Plus, since this is an open platform, developers can jump on the Roku bandwagon to add in getting more channels out.
But here’s the best part: Anthony Wood, CEO and co-founder of Roku, says, “Now content producers and distributors – from single person shops to billion dollar corporations – can deliver their content directly to consumers without having to go exclusively through cable operators, satellite networks or TV affiliates.” Less restriction could mean more of the content you want without paying premiums. When is it available? Existing customers will get a free and automatic upgrade and new Roku customers will get the upgrade as soon as they get their box going. If you own a Roku box and are currently subscribed, let us know what you think of the new channels.
First and foremost, Internet radio lovers have some serious cause for celebration as Pandora announces a somewhat workable resolution to the ongoing royalty dispute that nearly drove the company into the ground. By somewhat workable, we mean it’ll keep them in business but it’s still paying the highest royalty rate in radio. What does this mean for Pandora users? Well it means they can keep using Pandora of course, and 90 percent of users will experience no changes whatsoever. For the other 10 percent though — users who don’t pay for Pandora One but stream more than 40 hours of music per month — the free ride is over to an extent. Any non-subscriber who goes over 40 hours in a month will have to cough up $0.99 in order to continue streaming during that month. $0.99, as in less than a dollar… We’d say that’s pretty fair. In all seriousness though, if you’re listening to 480+ hours of Pandora per year and not supporting the company by forking over $36 for a year of Pandora One, well, you should definitely consider it. So congratulations to Pandora on ending a 2-year fiasco. It might not have been the best possible outcome but hey, if it keeps the company afloat it’s not all bad.