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All posts tagged "mp3 player"

Monday, November 21, 2011

Online Music Stores Compared

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 07:00 PM

"Each music store is a little different. This showdown is all about the music stores that these companies offer-not their respective players, applications, or services. We can't help but mention them in terms of usability and integration with the store and the user experience, but we're going to try and focus on the features of the stores and steer clear of the bugs or quirks of each player."

Online music stores have garnered attention of late for a number reasons, including the recent launch of the new Google music store. Lifehacker has done another nice job comparing products, this time focusing primarily on the iTunes store, the new Google store and the Amazon music store offerings. If you are outside of the US you may not even have access to all of these stores and their related services, but the review is still useful as you get a feel for what the offerings encompass, and in the future you may indeed get to use them. There is something unique, positive, and negative about each store. The Read link will provide that insight for you.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Creative's Little ZEN Style M300

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

"Creative Technology Ltd today announced the launch of the Creative ZEN Style M300 music, photo and video player with Bluetooth wireless audio playback. Just 55 x 44 x 12 mm in size, the Creative ZEN Style M300 is packed with features including a microSD card slot and 1.45" TFT screen with Touch Buttons, and it is priced from only $39.99."

If you're looking for a small MP3 player that doesn't cost a bunch, and is easy to carry/hold on your person (gym workout anyone?) then this new ZEN looks like a winner. It comes in 4 GB, 8 GB or 16 GB sizes and can be expanded via microSD cards. Add in 20 hours of battery life and Bluetooth for wireless headphone support, and you have a compelling MP3 player - especially with prices running from $50 to $90.

I just wish devices like this would sync with the Zune software - I don't even have my music loaded into Windows Media Player 12 any more, I use the Zune software for all music listening duties. Creative can make the best software in the world, but without a solid ecosystem of software and entertainment to go with it, they simply can't compete with Apple products.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ever Wonder How To Better Manage Your Music Collection?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:30 AM

"This question is a little like the onsite backup one we answered last week, and what methods you can use depend on how simple, expensive, and extensible you want your centralized music collection to be. Clearly, there are a ton of ways to tackle this problem, and this answer does not aim to be comprehensive. Rather, we're just throwing a few ideas out there that newbies to networked music sharing should investigate further."

"Ah", you are thinking. Finally. The answer to that pesky problem you have been dealing with for the last five years. Unfortunately, you may not be happy to hear that we don't have the definitive answer. What we do have is the observation that the options for you are ever expanding. Ars Technica was recently posed the question "How can I liberate my music collection from my single PC, store it somewhere central on my LAN, and access it from multiple locations?", and in their response they listed a least a half a dozen options. The comments on their article listed more. There is certainly no consensus on how to address this common need, primarily because each potential solution has some limitation or lack of flexibility that people wish was included.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Look Ma, No Hands! The PodFlexPro Reviewed

Posted by Matthew Shanks in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Travelling light is a challenge for many people. Travelling light if you're a technology buff is next to impossible. Between laptops, netbooks, cameras, phones, iPods, iPads, cords and chargers, many travellers now carry a bag filled with just their grown-up toys. Add a toddler into the mix and you have a recipe for carry-on luggage trouble. I found myself in this situation not too long ago travelling on vacation with my wife and daughter on a long flight (just shy of seven hours). I knew keeping an 18 month old toddler amused (not to mention myself) on such a lengthy flight would be a challenge, so I stuffed my gadget bag and off we went. Read more...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pose Your Gadgets with the Friendly Neighborhood Spiderpodium

Posted by Anjuan Simmons in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Gadgets are usually in one of two places: a hand or a storage location (pocket, carrying case, purse, etc.). However, there are many times when a gadgets needs to be in a "third place". For example, a digital camera may need to be put on a table to take a time delayed picture of a group of people. Or, a smartphone with GPS capability may need to be positioned on a bicycle handle in order to measure speed, pace, and distance along a trail. The Spiderpodium ($19.99 direct) by Breffo seeks to be the accessory that you reach for during these "third place” moments. Read more...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Field of Streams: Ranking the Best Streaming Music Services

Posted by Todd Klein in "Digital Home Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"The era of listening to any song, at any moment, in any location is fast approaching. While we're not quite there yet, a handful of on-demand music services have come close."

Gizmodo has done some heavy lifting sifting through various streaming music services. After narrowing the list down to 4, they rank Grooveshark, MOG, Rdio, and Rhapsody along a continuum that includes features, catalogue size, monthly service cost, and the breadth of devices the service can be played on.

Based on their rankings, relative upstarts MOG and Rdio seem to have overtaken industry stalwart Rhapsody despite the latter's longevity (still barely passable Chrome functionality, really?). All of these have yet to carve out profitable niches, and still must compete against personalized radio services like Pandora. That said, the true winner is a service you can't get in the US. Spotify is touted by industry pundits as the best streaming service not available in America. Why? No deals with the labels. Someday, all of this will integrate with each of our devices wherever we are. Until then, we're on our own to create an individualized music experience.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Did Digital Kill the Radio Star?

Posted by Todd Klein in "Digital Home Talk" @ 08:00 AM

"The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a trade group based in London, said last week that sales of music in digital form had risen only 6 percent worldwide in 2010, even as the overall music market had shrunk 8 percent or 9 percent, extending a decade-long decline. In each of the past two years, the rate of increase in digital revenue has approximately halved. If that trend continues, digital sales could top out at less than $5 billion this year, about a third of the overall music market but many billions of dollars short of the amount needed to replace long-gone sales of compact discs. “Music’s first digital decade is behind us and what do we have?” said Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Not a lot of progress. We are at one of the most worrying stages yet for the industry,” he continued. “As things stand now, digital music has failed.”

The New York Times reports this astonishing indictment of an industry that's produced iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Lastfm and several other services with millions of engaged worldwide users. Yes, digital killed the CD business by undbundling songs from albums, and by extension struck a fatal blow to bricks and mortar music retailers. Yes, piracy is a problem that must be managed if artists are to be supported. But to declare that an entirely new medium, digital delivery of music, has failed because the established players have suffered economically while consumers have experienced a technology tsunami of music discovery, sharing, choice, and purchasing models seems to put the cart before the horse.

Tell me, has digital killed your music experience?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Amazon UK Now Offering Samsung Galaxy Player

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

"Last week, it was revealed that Seoul, South Korea-based Samsung Electronics had developed an Android-powered MP3 player called Samsung Galaxy Player to take on the iPod Touch by Apple Inc. and the Zune HD by Microsoft Corp. The company was expected to revealed the device at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show [CES] in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, has put the device up for pre-sale on its U.K. website."

Although the dedicated MP3 player market is shrinking - Apple is selling less iPods now than a year ago I believe - it's still a vital market with a lot of money attached to it. Riding on the success of their Galaxy Tab, which is widely regarded as the best Android tablet on the market today, Samsung is unveiling the Galaxy Player this week at CES. Amazon UK has published the specs early though; it will have a 3.2 inch display, be available in 8 GB and 16 GB capacities, support a wide variety of audio and video codecs (MP3, AAC, WAV, FLAC, WMA, OGG, AMR, MPEG4, H.264, H.263, WMV, DivX, and Xvid), and perhaps most importantly will have fully sanctioned support for the Android Marketplace - and be running Android 2.2 (Froyo).

My reaction? Media players need decently large screens - I already feel like the 3.5" screen on my iPod Touch is too small, so 3.2 inches is going in the wrong direction. For compatibility with Android apps, the resolution is presumably going to be 800 x 480, so I'd have preferred to see a 4" or 4.3" screen in there.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cowon J3 PMP Impresses

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:30 PM

"The J3 certainly looks fetching, understated. While the S9 felt a bit hollow and the side panels – especially on the ‘chrome’ version – were fake plastic/metal, the J3 feels more substantial, yet not heavier. It has the exact same measurements, length- and width-wise, but it’s a bit thinner than its predecessor. It’s very pocketable."

While the iPod market gets updates every few months, other manufacturers have been busy making improvements to their own media players. Cowon may not be as well known in the Western world, but it offers a lot of good features to make considering it worthwhile. Why go with a company like Cowon when iPods are so easy to be had? Maybe you do not like iTunes. Maybe you prefer a different interface. Maybe you want support for a different range of codecs. Maybe you just want to try something different and stand out in a crowd. Whatever your reason, it is good to see that while the iPod does dominate, there is enough of the remaining market that some good competitors are out there.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sonos Launches Wireless Dock for iPods and iPhones.

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

"Sonos, the leading developer of wireless multi-room music systems for the home, today announced that the Sonos Wireless Dock (WD100), an accessory to the award-winning Sonos Multi-Room Music System, is now available for purchase. The Sonos Wireless Dock is available for $119 at all Sonos authorized retailers and at"

This reminds me of the Creative X-Fi wireless docks for the iPods. Whatever happened to them? I just checked on Creative's websites and they're gone. These seem handy, but does anyone really use them? Integrated speaker docks are more convenient, and for quality who connects a media player to their hi-fi systems anyway? Press release after the break.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Sansa Fuze+ Specs

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

Nothing overly spectacular on the surface. But, this device does have pretty broad format support and with the microSDHC card slot is expandable to a very spacious flash based player. If these features are important to you, you may want to check it out.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ultrasone Wants to Save Your Ears

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 09:45 AM

Ever since the advent of the Walkman, researchers have been warning us that we're all about to go deaf. I don't know if those fears have been realized yet since I still don't hear about scores of the Walkman generation showing up for hearing aids. Maybe people have been heeding the warnings!

Whatever the case, the warnings have hardly abated over the years and there's been new warnings and research that has come out recently that shows that hearing loss in teens is on the rise. This really isn't surprising to me since as we've transitioned to digital music its become trivial to have your entire library of music in your pocket.

The challenge is finding a way to play your music at lower levels and still enjoy it the same. There does come a point where you start to lose things in the music if you can't put the volume high enough. Of course, if you make yourself deaf trying to find all the subtle nuances of your heavy metal, it may end up as a moot point eventually.

Ultrasone says that they have the answer with their S-Logic technology. They claim that it can decrease pressure on your inner ear by up to 40% which is definitely a pretty positive thing. Not only that, but Ultrasone says that because it delivers the sound more naturally, that your listening experience will actually be improved.

Safety and quality come at a price, however. Ultrasone only appears to provide over the ear headphones and all start at over $100 and go up into the thousands. If you're an extreme audiophile who demands the best listening experience and and want to ensure your hearing safety, this could be the answer for you. Its a pretty expensive solution for what is, admittedly, a pretty significant issue.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Archos Newest Android PMP

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"Hot on the heels of last weeks Archos 32 Minidroid comes another device from Archos forthcoming 'Generation 8' line-up. As the name suggests, it is a 2.8" media player running Google Android. The user manual and internal photos are available on the FCC website."

I think Android makes a fine core OS for a PMP. All the basics are already taken care of and a lot of expandability is already there. But, I also see the stand-alone PMP going the way of the stand-alone PDA. From a hardware perspective, my Droid makes a fine PMP, all it really lacks is a really great media app. So if Archos develops one for their own Android devices, I wonder if we'll see it released on the market for other non-Archos devices?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Boston Herald Tries Out Three High-End Players

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Digital Home Talk" @ 09:30 AM

"When you talk about high-end touchscreen personal media players, as they’re more commonly called, that talk usually turns to the iPod Touch, admittedly a great gadget. But with Apple getting so much attention these days, we thought we’d seek out some alternatives to the Touch. For the past three weeks, I’ve been putting three touchscreen MP3 players through their paces, loading each one with a carefully selected MP3 playlist that includes everything from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and videos ranging from Lady Jane Boleyn episodes in “The Tudors” to Lady Gaga in “Bad Romance.” I surfed the Web, listened to FM radio, checked e-mail, went on my Facebook account and even checked out apps."

The Boston Herald recently put three different high-end media players through the paces, and offers a good article on the benefits of each. Paul Restuccia loves the Zune HD for its bouncy music effects, the Archos 5 for its video, and the Sony X-Series Walkman for its sharp design. All of the players get demerits for their comparatively few apps available, but such is the state of the market now. Click through to the read link to check out the full article and let us know if you bought any of these players and what appealed to you about them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Viliv's Media Player with Android and Windows CE

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:30 PM

Hard to tell from the video how much of the OS you have access to. If they went through the trouble of putting both Android and Windows CE on here, I'm hopeful that they did it for a reason and that you'll be able to use a good deal of the functionality of both, which depending on the price, could make this a nice device.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Engadget Reviews the Cowon V5

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"Boasting a 4.8-inch resistive touchscreen (800 x 480 resolution), a Windows CE 6.0 underlying OS, HDMI / USB sockets (via adapters from a proprietary socket), a voice recorder, integrated speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack, 8/16/32GB of internal storage, an SDHC expansion slot, a battery good for 45 hours of music playback (or 10 hours with video) and a format support list that would drive you batty to read, there's a lot (lot!) to love about this thing on paper."

With a starting price of $299, it seems a bit steep for a device that is only a media player. I'm actually hoping that the Dell Mini 5 comes in around this price given the iPad's $499 price tag. Alternatively, given the underlying OS base, a web browser is possible, and combined with a bit of a price cut could give this some traction.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dell Mini 5 Has a Plethora of Color Options

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"At long last, it seems as if the suits in Round Rock are finally getting around to crafting the first advertisements for the upcoming slate, and while we knew about the 5-inch WVGA (800 x 480) touchscreen, 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and flash, capacitive touch front buttons, front-facing VGA camera (for video chatting) and the 30-pin docking connector, we weren't aware of Dell's plans to reveal a slew of vivacious color options."

Some interesting color options. Other detail suggest that there will be a content deal with Amazon, which I hope means we will be seeing a Kindle app for all Android devices in the near future. Of course, the one piece of information we all want to know, price and availability, is still an unknown.

Monday, February 15, 2010

iBlink: See the Sound!

Posted by Chris Baxter in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

Black and Blue iBlink

Product Category: Noise Isolation Earbuds
Manufacturer: iBlink Corporation
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $24.99
Specifications: Cord length: 44" , weight: .7 oz., Lithium ION rechargeable battery with 30 hours continuous play and 28 day standby between charges.


  • Good price;
  • Variety of color combinations available;
  • Flashing lights lends a uniqueness to the product that help it stand out.


  • Cheap construction quality;
  • Wish it came with more than just three different sized ear-tips.

Summary: iBlink earbuds let you see the sound. Literally. Using LEDs in the earbuds and battery compartment, iBlink earbuds blink to the time of the music you are listening too. I decided to give a pair of these a try and not only see if they lived up to their blinking hype, but how well they reproduced sound as well.

Read on to see what I discovered.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Music Organization: Which Application Wins?

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 12:30 PM,0

MaximumPC has done an interesting side by side comparison of the big three options out there for music organization on your home PC. To be honest, most people will have a hard time really making much of a selection based on the software and are far more likely to be choosing based on what their device of choice is. In the case of the iPod and Zune, we’re mostly tied to using the software designed for it.

But if you don’t like your options with your current software solution, it’s certainly not impossible to use a different program to manage your media and a different one to load your player. The three that MaximumPC looks at are iTunes (of course), Zune, and Songbird. Read more...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nvidia Announces Next Gen Tegra

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 03:09 PM

Nvidia had their CES press event today and among the announcements were details on the next generation Tegra chip. The Tegra powers, among other things, the Zune HD and from everything I’ve seen it’s a very impressive chip already. The current Tegra runs the ARM11 chip. The new Tegra is going to be running the dual core Cortex-A9.

They also said that there will be 8 independent processors so if I understand the transcript from Engadget correctly, that means 16 cores total on the new Tegra (I didn't understand correctly. Thanks bitbyte for pointing out there are actually 2 Cortex A9 processors). All while only consuming 500 milliwatts. They claim this will allow for 140 hours of music and 16 hours of HD video but of course, that will depend on a lot of factors unrelated to the Tegra alone.

Nvidia’s biggest announcement for Tegra is that it will be powering all Audi cars starting in 2011. I assume that means the 2012 model years but they don’t specify in the live blog on Engadget. There is no mention of the Zune or other devices specifically but they do say there are 50 devices in the pipe for the new Tegra.

I think a combination of Tegra, Windows Phone 7, and the Zune all on one platform could make for a killer device.

Check out the rest of the live blog on Engadget. They have other announcements involving 3D on our laptops, which I’m sure everyone is excited about and lots of great pictures and slides from the Nvidia’s presentation.

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