Bluetooth

Sony, Logitech, Netgear and (perhaps) Apple intro new wireless music streaming offerings

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 11:25am

New speakers and devices to stream web radioLong gone are the days when your Internet radio listening experience was limited to your computer speakers. There's now a wild, wide world of speakers and devices to stream web radio (see our story below for a new review of one popular choice). That world expanded today with the introduction of several new devices (and one new rumor from Apple). 

Logitech has launched several new devices including the new UE Smart Radio, "the next generation" of Logitech's Squeezebox web radio players. The tabletop radio can stream Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody and thousands of web radio stations.

Also from Logitech: the UE Boombox -- an impressive and "booming" wireless Bluetooth speaker -- and its little brother, the UE Mobile Boombox. Both are capable of playing music from any Bluetooth-enabled device (including your web radio-streaming smartphone). CNet has more coverage here.

On the topic of wireless speakers, be sure to check out the SRS-BTM8 offering from Sony. The distinctive device boasts Bluetooth and NFC connectivity ("an addition that lets you play music simply by tapping the speaker with your smartphone," writes Engadget). It's powered by four AA batteries (remember those?) "that promise 20 hours of playback time." Engadget has more here.

That's all well and good, but what you if happen to already own some decent speakers, perhaps as part of a home entertainment system? Netgear has you in mind. The company launched what it call the Powerline Music Extender, which boils down to streaming your music around the house using your electrical outlets.

You may have seen devices that share your network around the house via your outlets, but now Netgear offers a device (XSUB2511) that lets you stream music too. The device connects to any audio device via RCA jacks, reports SlashGear here and PC World here. Netgear's sytem supports both Apple and Android devices, even integrating with Apple's AirPlay system for iOS gadgets.

Speaking of AirPlay (click here for a refresher on what AirPlay is), The Telegraph reports Apple's wireless music/video sharing service may be getting an upgrade soon. AirPlay currently relies on your Wi-Fi network to stream audio (like Internet radio streams) and video around the house. But on September 12, Apple may announce "AirPlay Direct," an upgrade that would allow AirPlay devices to connect directly to each other, without the need of a Wi-Fi network. (Apple may also announce an update to some phone it makes that day, too). Find The Telegraph's coverage here.

So what do you think? Any of these gadgets sound appealing? Have a better suggestion? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Craft a wireless in-car receiver out of Bluetooth headphones

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - 9:35am

Bluetooth headphone hackLifehacker today features a DIY project that converts a pair of Bluetooth headphones into a wireless audio receiver for your car.

That would enable you to stream any audio content -- including tunes from Internet radio apps -- from a smartphone to your car stereo. Perfect if a new Ford model with SYNC is a little beyond your budget.

That said, "it's certainly a lot of work," warns Lifehacker. But if you're up to the challenge, you can find everything you need from Scrapyard Electronic here. Lifehacker's article is here.

Developer mounts Nook e-book reader to dashboard for entertainment and diagnostics

Monday, December 5, 2011 - 11:15am

Nook in Jeep dashboardWe've seen people attach an iPad to their car's dashboard for an easy-to-access mobile web interface, but a Nook (the Barnes & Noble e-book reader -- their counterpart to Amazon's Kindle)? 

Lifehacker reports that XDA Developers forum member "craigbru" has done it, and has a how-to guide for installing and mounting a Nook Color in the car, for both entertainment and to monitor the engine (and hopefully not for reading!). For the diagnostics, he's using a device called a Bluetooth OBD-II reader and an Android app called Torque. And, you can see he's loaded up Slacker for music (the Nook is an Android-based tablet platform).

Read more in Lifehacker, and the XDA Developers forum.

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