On Tuesday Slacker introduced a new subscription service called “Slacker Premium Radio.” Slacker Premium allows you to search for artists and play songs, or even full albums, on demand. Similar to Rhapsody, you can also cache songs for offline playback on your phone where a 3G or Wi-Fi signal isn’t available. The streaming radio service said that it offers 6 times the amount of music that Pandora offers, although it remains unclear how its library stacks up against Rhapsody or Microsoft’s Zune service. Slacker Premium Radio is available for the web, Android, iOS, and BlackBerry now for $10 per month. More →
According to several, leaked internal screen shots obtained by TmoNews, the highly-anticipated NoDo Windows Phone 7 update could begin rolling out to owners of the T-Mobile HTC HD7 smartphone as soon as Today. Users should start seeing a pop-up notification alerting them of the update, at which point they’ll need to connect their phones to a computer and install the update through Microsoft’s Zune Player software. NoDo will bring copy/paste functionality, improvements to Wi-Fi and the camera, along with several speed and performance enhancements. For now this is just a rumor, but it’s entirely possible given that Microsoft began pushing out the NoDo update in Europe last week. We’ll be sure to keep you updated if we hear more on NoDo being deployed to the HD7 today. More →
According to Bloomberg’s Dina Bass, Microsoft will discontinue selling its Zune music player sometime this year. Launched in 2006, the Zune was Microsoft’s response to Apple’s iPod music player and offered us our first look at the Metro UI — the user interface now present on Windows Phone devices. According to Bass, the company will refocus its efforts on the Zune software; working to improve its functionality and usefulness on devices running Microsoft’s new mobile operating system. Microsoft declined to directly comment on the device’s future. “We have nothing to announce about another Zune device,” said a company spokesperson. “Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms.” Zune hardware — the Zune HD — was last refreshed in September of 2009. More →
Following recent reports that Microsoft will soon be killing off its Zune suite of entertainment services and replacing them with a new offering, All About Microsoft has uncovered what may end up being Microsoft’s Zune successor. The blog’s tipsters claim knowledge of a new set of services currently being developed by Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division. These services, codenamed “Ventura,” are said to be focused on media discovery and consumption — much like Zune. To help firm up the report, All About Microsoft also reveals a Microsoft job posting that references Ventura. “The Ventura Media Services team is looking for a highly motivated Software Development Engineer to help drive some great new service innovation,” the job description reads. It goes on to say, “In this position you will have the chance to help choose direction and drive innovation on some of the most cutting edge media services. Think large scale. Think Azure. Being a web and services group, our goal is to release early and often while maintaining high quality.” More →
Who would have ever thought getting a Zune tattoo might be a bad idea? Microsoft is killing Zune, reports Windows watcher Paul Thurrott. Not the services, of course — they’ll live on in some way, shape or form. But the Zune brand and logo are not long for this world, Thurrott claims. The Microsoft expert thinks the brand will be phased out over a period of time, with the related services possibly rolling into the Windows Live brand, and he says the process has already begun. When confronted with this rumor, Microsoft’s response was anything but a denial: “We’re not ‘killing’ any of the Zune services/features in any way. Microsoft remains committed to providing a great music and video experience from Zune on platforms such as Xbox LIVE, Windows-based PCs, Zune devices and Windows Phone 7, as well as integration with Bing and MSN.” More →
Following reports last week stating that Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac was nearing release, Microsoft today made its OS X connector software available to the public. The software, currently available as a beta, allows users to connect their Windows Phone 7-powered devices to Mac computers and synchronize multimedia content. To make the process as familiar as possible, Microsoft’s Connector syncs phones with music, videos and photos already present in users’ iTunes and iPhoto libraries, so no additional cataloging is necessary. Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac requires OS X 10.5 or higher and is available directly from Microsoft’s website.
Microsoft announced last week that it would be giving away free 3-month Zune Passes to customers who sign up for Windows Phone 7 pre-order notifications and then go on to place pre-orders. AT&T apparently wants in on the action as well, as the carrier plans to give away a free “Entertainment Pack” with each Windows Phone 7 device purchase. The pack consists of a 1-month Zune Pass with 10 free song downloads, a month of U-verse Mobile service and a free copy of the 3-D puzzle game ilomilo. The deal sounds pretty sweet, though takers should note that unless the service is canceled, they will automatically get charged a $10 monthly subscription fee after their free 30-day U-verse Mobile trials expire. Ahhh… nothing like a good old fashioned Columbia House scam to welcome people to the new Windows Phone 7 family. More →
If you’re getting excited for the launch of Windows Phone 7 handsets, and are a Mac user, you might want to pay attention to this. According to a tweet by Microsoft UK’s head of Windows Phone marketing, Oded Ran, software that will allow Mac’s to sync Zune content with Windows Phone 7 devices may be out soon. The exact verbiage of the tweet, which was quickly erased, read: “ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m glad to confirm that Mac users would be able to use Zune on their Macs to sync with #WP7. More details soon.” The Zune features and functions are heavily integrated into the WP7, so it is good to see Microsoft showing a little love for those Mac Users out there; we’re sure the idea of removing people from Apple’s iTunes ecosystem doesn’t make the company all that sad either. This got us thinking, are there any Mac users interested in a WP7 device? More →
Once at the top of the smartphone pack, Microsoft’s current mobile operating system, Windows Mobile, has quickly fallen from grace. Luckily the juggernaut in Redmond, WA decided finally to do something about that. You call it whatever you’d like — a restart, a do over — but Microsoft has entirely changed course with Windows Phone 7, and they have broke most everything in the process. That means old Windows Mobile applications won’t work, the entire OS has been redone, and practically nothing from the user’s perspective has been carried over. A good thing when you’re now playing in a world of Androids and iPhones. We have been testing out a non-final, never ever going to be released to market Samsung prototype Windows Phone 7 device for a week, and we’re excited to let you know what we think of the operating system. More →
It looks like Microsoft is doing a little spring cleaning in their beleaguered Entertainment Group, as a just announced corporate shake up aims to keep the Redmond company nimble enough to compete with Google and Apple in the mobile device and entertainment product spaces. The biggest moves see Chief Technology Officer of the Entertainment Group, J Allard — whose Courier project was recently axed — and Robbie Bach, the same groups President, leaving the company. Allard, who has been on sabbatical from Microsoft for quite some time, was in charge of several high profile projects — including the Zune and Xbox — will stay on as a consultant; Bach will be leaving the company completely. What say you? What changes/products would you like to see Microsoft’s Entertainment Group make? More →
Not even a whole two months removed from their announcing Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft is back today with another event in which it is expected to reveal its Project Pink line-up including the handsets known as the “Pure” and “Turtle”. Whether or not they’ll run WP7 or something else entirely isn’t clear, but all of this will soon be clear. As the event carries on we’ll be updating this post with the latest information, so be sure to check often lest you be left out of the loop. All of the goodness is after the jump. More →
The Wall Street Journal has chimed in and offered their inside information on the Windows Mobile and Project Pink rumors that have been circulating recently. Though it lacks the details of the earlier leaks, the Wall Street Journal confirms that Microsoft will publicly announce Windows Mobile 7 at MWC 2010 and are flying out Steve Ballmer to head up the show. As rumored, the latest generation of Microsoft’s mobile platform is expected to radically change the look and feel of Windows Mobile bringing a whole new Zune-like UI to this currently lackluster OS. Project pink was also confirmed by the WSJ and, as rumored, is a new series of handsets based upon Danger’s Sidekick line of mobile phones. The Project Pink phones are said to be social networking powerhouses which will appeal to a teen-aged audience. Though not expected to be announced at MWC 2010, the “Pink” handsets are slated for a spring launch on both Verizon Wireless and Vodafone. More →
More Zune Phone rumors are again hitting the scene, this time the rumor of the day is originating from the Spanish blog muycomputer. They claim that Microsoft will be unveiling the long-rumored Zune Phone at Mobile World Congress 2010. According to their inside source, the Zune Phone will be introduced by Microsoft with NVIDIA by its side and will even feature an NVIDIA Tegra processor, leading muycomputer to surmise that the handset will indeed be a Zune HD with phone and PDA functionality probably provided courtesy of Windows Mobile 7. The discovery of phone references within the Zune’s inf file is certainly suggestive of the existence of such a Zune Phone but we will have to wait a few more weeks to find out if this rumor is worth its salt.