gadgets

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.

Some New York City payphones to become web radio transmitters, er, free Wi-Fi hotspots

Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 12:25pm

Wi-Fi payphonesA select group of New York City payphones will soon become free Wi-Fi hotspots. "The hotspots are initially coming to ten payphones in three of the boroughs and will be open to the public to access for free," reports GigaOM (here).

"Users just agree to the terms, visit the city’s tourism website and then they’re up and running... The effort is part of the city’s larger goal of providing more digital inclusion for residents."

We'll leave you to bask in the delicious irony of new smartphones tethering to a data connection transmitted from a payphone.

 

DIY project converts a car ashtray into a smartphone dock

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 11:05am

iPhone ashtray/dockThe cars of tomorrow will likely rely on smartphones for a plethora of features, including streaming web radio. But perhaps your car of today isn't quite up to the task.

You can help make your car a bit more smartphone-friendly with a new DIY project spotlighted by Lifehacker. It's a way to turn a car's ashtray into a dock for your smartphone.

"All you really need for this project is a bit of scrap plastic, an old dock connector for your phone, and a few tools," writes Lifehacker. "When you're done, you'll have the perfect spot to put your phone, no messy cables required."

You can find Lifehacker's coverage here and the "how to" instructions at Instructables here.

Tablet shipments expected to outpace laptops by 2016

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 12:40pm

TabletsNew research predicts the popularity of tablet devices like Apple's iPad won't abate any time soon. In fact, NPD DisplaySearch expects shipments of tablets to likely outpace that of notebook computers in 2016.

"Consumer preference for mobile computing devices is shifting from notebook to tablet PCs," said Richard Shim, a senior analyst at NPD DisplaySearch. "The lines between tablet and notebook PCs are blurring."

Mashable has more coverage here.

 

Tabletop radio maker Tivoli launches web radio iPhone app

Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 11:10am

Tivoli RadioTivoli Audio has launched a new iPhone app, "Tivoli Radio," which offers access to curated selection of Internet radio streams.

"Users can listen to a select number of stations from around the world that were the most popular stations among [Tivoli's] customers. The app includes 10 genres with 10 stations in each of those genres. A 'Tivoli’s Favorites' category is also included," reports 148Apps.

The free app's interface mimics the look of Tivoli's tabletop radios, many of which can stream Internet radio (RAIN coverage here). You can read more about the new app from 148Apps here.

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