RAIN 11/11: HTML5 technology could allow mobile devices to stream Net radio without apps

Michael Schmitt
November 11, 2011 - 11:55am

Mobile devicesThis week Adobe announced it would cease developing its Flash technology for mobile devices, instead focusing on HTML5. Such a move could impact Internet radio, as many webcasters use Flash to stream and mobile is arguably the future of the medium.

HTML5 is a new, developing technology for web browsers that enables -- among many features -- native audio streaming without plug-ins like Flash. Pandora already uses HTML5 in its new website (RAIN coverage here), as did 35% of the 100 most popular websites in Q3 2011.

Plus, said Adobe VP and General Manager of Interactive Development Danny Winokur, “HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices," (whereas Flash was notably not supported on Apple mobile devices).

HTML5 and audioThe promise of HTML5 then, writes the Wall Street Journal (here), is that "developers can use HTML5 to get their creations on a variety of smartphones, tablets and PCs without tailoring apps for specific hardware or the online stores that have become gatekeepers to mobile commerce."

Though currently, most webcasters reach mobile listeners through apps, some argue that the future lies with mobile webpages -- not apps. Firefox-maker Mozilla's VP/Products Jay Sullivan recently argued, "If you want to have a variety of mobile apps, it gets expensive...that’s a lot of apps to build" (read more from VentureBeat here). A mobile HTML5 webpage, on the other hand, could be a single "product" that's accessible from a variety of devices.

In other words, with the demise of mobile Flash, HTML5 may very well be the technology that supports mobile Internet radio in the foreseeable future.

Michael Schmitt
November 11, 2011 - 11:55am

Livio Radio's Internet Radio Car Kit

Livio Radio has been named an International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Innovations 2012 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree. The company's Bluetooth Internet Radio Car Kit (pictured; RAIN coverage here) reportedly "impressed an independent [CES] panel," reports Benzinga (here).

"The first thing people see when they walk into the largest [trade] show in North America is the CES Innovation Showcase,” said Livio Radio founder and CEO Jake Sigal. “This honor...reminds me of the feeling when my mom put an A+ paper on the refrigerator growing up. Only now, 140,000 people are in my kitchen." CES 2012 starts on January 10, 2012.

Paul Maloney
November 11, 2011 - 11:55am

It's a pretty handy hook for industry observers to portray Pandora and Spotify as two giants battling for digital music supremacy. But reality is a little more complicated, at least going byPandora CTO Tom Conrad what the two companies say publicly. 

Pandora CTO Tom Conrad (pictured) spoke at the GigaOM Roadmap 2011 conference yesterday. And instead of characterizing the on-demand service Spotify as a direct competitor to his own company's personalized Internet radio service,Pandora he said, "I do think of Spotify as being largely complementary to what Pandora is... I’m happy that there are companies like Spotify that are tilling different parts of the music soil."

Spotify founder Daniel Ek has remarked (read CNN Fortune & Money here), "In the old world, you had radio and record stores. In the new world, a different world, you have services like Pandora which is clearly radio. With Spotify, all we really care about is we want to manage your music. We want to hold your music collection."

Conrad, recalling that quote yesterday, said, "we’re very comfortable with that characterization... We see that one of the principle purposes of radio is to help artistsSpotify sell their music."

Driving Pandora far more than any perceived competition from Spotify, Conrad insisted, is the "Pandora Everywhere" project -- the company's goal to allow users to enjoy its service anywhere they might want to listen to music. "If we spend a lot of energy on making playlists, how do we make this as ubiquitous as traditional radio?" he asked.

Read more in ZDNet here; TechCrunch also covered Conrad's comments here.

Michael Schmitt
November 11, 2011 - 11:55am

Drinkify recommends a 1 Fat Tire for RadioheadA new site called Drinkify aims to recommend the perfect alcoholic beverage to accompany your favorite music. The service mashes music info from Last.fm and the Echo Nest with a proprietary drink database. 

The result? Recommendations for whiskey for Johnny Cash, scotch for Glee and merlot for Frank Sinatra.

Lifehacker has more coverage here.