Archives For Mobile

beats-sonos

As the story goes, Beats acquired the music streaming service MOG in 2012… and 18 months later, we’re days away from the launch of Beats Music — based on MOG, with custom interface, a few clever new additions, and day 1 availability on Sonos. Of course, the headphone company is banking on their brand to drive subscriptions in a way largely unfamiliar competitors like Rdio can’t. Interestingly, Beats appears to forgo the traditional streaming-only plan in the $4 – $5 range and only offer the $10 ad-free tier, that includes the ability to create and download custom playlists. Further, Beats offers a genre-based presentation and curated playlists – perhaps similar to Slacker, which I’ve successfully replaced Sirius XM with nearly a month ago. Given the small investment of cash, I’ll certainly check Beats Music out for at least month. But luring a percentage of folks like me away from the Spotifys of the world isn’t enough, and I assume their intention is to take this mainstream. And we expect a variety of product and service tie-ins as we’re already seeing with a launch day AT&T family plan.

Hands On Asus Padfone Mini

Dave Zatz —  January 12, 2014 — 2 Comments

padfone-mini

From CES, Asus continues to introduce hybrid devices to accommodate a variety of use cases – from dual OS laptops to “convergent” smartphone-tablet devices as seen from the new Padfone Mini, which mates a 4″ Android smartphone to a 7″ screen. Despite a modest 800×480 resolution, the phone itself looks and feels quite nice — it’s what I imagine a better constructed second generation Moto X could be. Beyond the handsome hardware, the Padfone Mini runs Asus’ ZenUI experience on top of Android – bringing flat, soft visuals, more akin to iOS7 than the Samsung’s garish TouchWiz presentation. In addition to interface customizations, there are plenty of software enhancements – including an superfluous selfie feature and the more practical “What’s Next” that mashes up your calendar, tasks, and location, viewed within a dedicated app or integrated into live wallpaper. Continue Reading…

Sirius XM Raising Rates In 2014

Dave Zatz —  December 18, 2013 — 9 Comments

sirius-online-rates

It’s that time of year. No, not holiday shopping. Rather, annual rate increase notices. And, next up is Sirius XM, who just hit me with a letter that indicates my online streaming add-on will increase from $3.50/mo to $4/mo. A fifty cent increase is pretty insignificant, yet these sorts of notifications may motivate folks such as myself to examine our usage scenarios and competing offerings. As it turns out, I mostly listen to Sirius XM in the car and would probably get more phone, tablet, Sonos enjoyment by re-upping with a more customizable Internet Radio service like Slacker… for the same $4. (It also looks like my satellite rate will eventually go up, but not quite yet as I agreed to an annual package.)

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Those of you who follow me on Twitter are most likely aware of my recent move from Verizon Wireless to T-Mobile. While I’d been very satisfied with Verizon’s coverage the last couple years, their egregious recurring $2.99 fee for visual voicemail (on Android) stuck in my craw every month… and basically pushed me into the arms of T-Mobile with, what I like to call, more “humane” pricing. Having said that, I wasn’t motivated to actually pull the trigger (and incur a substantial early termination fee) until T-Mobile introduced possibly insane International perks: Unlimited and free texts and EDGE data while overseas, paired with 20 cents/minute calls. Continue Reading…

Sling ups the app ante: Android and iOS updates add Roku support, Windows 8 app on deck

Logitech-Ultrathin-Keyboard-Cover-iPad-Air

As a writer, I’ve never found a keyboardless tablet to be very useful as I have a hard time separating work and play. And the original Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover turned me into iPad owner (for a time). So it was with high expectations that I picked up the redesigned Ultrathin Keyboard Cover ($100) for the new iPad Air. With many past Apple product releases and revisions, accessory makers were in the dark. Yet these days, it appears product dimensions are getting fed to them in a timely fashion as we’ve seen quite a few covers, cases, and keyboards hit within just a week or so of the iPad Air’s launch (with many sporting “iPad 5″ branding). However, I wonder if Logitech would have been better served by having waited a bit for retail hardware to arrive, as I have a few concerns with their new keyboard. But let’s start on a positive note… Continue Reading…

The $90 TiVo Stream accessory that brings placeshifting to the TiVo Premiere and base Roamio is being updated for remote viewing. Like the the Roamio Pro/Plus, both your live television programming and TiVo-ed recordings can be viewed on iPhones or iPads both within and now beyond the home. Assuming your cable company plays along, as HBO is universally locked down and even basic pay channels have been blocked by the likes of Time Warner Cable. But for those mostly in the clear (thank you FiOS), this is a nice upgrade to an already compelling device. The software started rolling out to units last night and all should receive it within the next few weeks. (Thanks pcbrew!)