In a world teeming with increasingly similar tech products, Apple is one company that seems to have no problem churning out standout products. This might be attributed to sleek designs, fun features, and friendly interfaces--or maybe you want to chalk it up to good ol' marketing tactics. However, in the case of the iPhone and the iPod Touch, there's one attribute that undeniably separates these devices from the masses: the ever-expanding cadre of third-party applications. You can find everything from cookbooks and weight-loss trackers to games and productivity tools, but the area in which the iPhone and iPod Touch … Read more
Sirius XM is at it again. The company that has faced numerous financial issues over the past few years has finally released its much-anticipated app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. There's just one problem: it leaves out much of the good stuff.
The new app allows users to access some of the service's sports, talk, comedy, and music channels. The available channels include, Oprah Radio, MLB Home Plate, NFL Radio, NHL Home Ice, Mad Dog Radio, The Foxxhole comedy channel, and NPR.
Users will also have access to a variety of Sirius XM music channels, including E Street Radio, The Grateful Dead Channel, Eminem's Shade 45, Radio Margaritaville, Siriusly Sinatra, and others. All told, users will be able to listen to 120 channels. Any music track can be purchased in iTunes while listening to it in the Sirius XM app.
But it's the omissions that will undoubtedly sway public opinion. According to Sirius XM, "some select programming, including MLB Play-by-Play, NFL Play-by-Play, Nascar Radio, and Howard Stern, will not be available on the iPhone and iPod Touch."
In its press release, Sirius XM didn't provide any reason why some of its most popular channels aren't included. But after some digging, I found that those omissions may be due to "mobile-performance rights."
"Sirius and XM offer all of the channels for which we have mobile-performance rights," the company wrote on its iPhone app's FAQ page. "For that reason, certain channels which may be available on your satellite radio or online radio service may not be available on a mobile device like the iPhone."
Sirius XM is giving users a free seven-day trial with the app. After that, it's charging a fee to access the content. I called a Sirius XM customer service representative to see how much it would cost to get that service. He told me that as a current Sirius XM subscriber, I would need to pay an additional $2.99 per month after the seven-day trial. Those who currently do not subscribe to the service will be forced to pay $12.95 per month for access.… Read more
Jelli is an online radio station whose playlist is controlled entirely by its users. It's different from radio stations that can be personalized, like Pandora or Slacker, which create unique stations for each user based on his or her tastes. Rather, Jelli is a collective--there's only one playlist, and it's ruled by the votes of the masses.
The concept is simple: Jelli shows you the songs on its playlist, then lets you vote whether each song rocks or sucks. Songs move up and down on the playlist based on their overall vote count. A few mischievous features … Read more
Don't be fooled by Slacker Radio's freemium BlackBerry app--it's not just loafing around. After logging onto your Slacker.com account, you'll be able to choose among your favorite and custom stations, and all of Slacker.com's genre-based programming. A stream of overlapping album art stands out on the app's dark-themed interface, keeping track of the songs you've listened to and those yet to come. Familiar buttons let you pause, skip, save, and ban songs.
From the BlackBerry's menu key, you'll be able to view stations, plus artist and album info. You … Read more
And so does Jasmine. Tune in to hear Jasmine (and Donald, to a lesser extent) gush about the upcoming Sony X-Series Walkman, a sweet-looking touch-screen MP3 player that has us hooked with its integrated Slacker capability, tactile playback buttons, and fun and innovative interface. Also, we manage to drag ourselves out of our Walkman infatuation long enough to discuss some upcoming Creative headphones, as well as give some tips on how you can move an iTunes library to an external hard drive. Finally, find out where you can find plenty of free (and legal) MP3s all over the Web. They may not be good songs, but free counts for something, right?Listen now: Download today's podcast | Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe in RSS… Read more
Music lovers, this week's CNET Crave giveaway is for you. This time, five lucky winners will receive a yearlong subscription to Slacker Radio Plus, which Slacker is offering to CNET readers in celebration of having its service on the BlackBerry named an April 2009 CNET Editors' Choice winner.
To win, you don't have to have a BlackBerry or use Slacker Radio. The prize is good for Slacker's streaming-Internet radio in all its destinations: on the Internet, BlackBerry, iPhone, Slacker's portable G2 player, and on the Sony Brazia TV, Logitech Squeezebox Duet, or Logitech Squeezebox Boom.
Slacker'… Read more
After a rocky start, online streaming service Imeem has raced to the head of the pack, thanks in large part to an effective search engine and the variety and large selection of music that users upload and share via the site.
It also helps that Imeem has deals with the major labels, so it's in no imminent danger of facing a Seeqpod-style shutdown. (However, Warner Music recently wrote down its investment in Imeem and rival Lala.)
Imeem launched an app for Android last year, but iPhone users were out of luck--until now.
I just downloaded the free Imeem app … Read more
Sirius XM has suffered through yet another losing quarter. Last week, the satellite radio company reported a net loss of $236.6 million for the first three months of the year.
Although it posted a tough first quarter, CEO Mel Karmazin expressed optimism. Sales grew to $587 million from $270.4 million a year prior, he noted. His company's operating costs dropped 23 percent year over year. And there is more evidence than ever that Sirius XM is slowly inching its way toward profitability, he said in a statement.
Not everyone is impressed. Fellow CNET Blog Network member Steve Guttenberg wrote that Sirius XM is "sticking it" to subscribers. He believes that customers aren't getting enough for what they're paying.
I understand his point. As a Sirius XM subscriber, I wasn't pleased to hear recently that it was raising prices. But that doesn't taint my evaluation of the service. For me, the "Sirius Everything plus the best of XM" package is worth $16.99 per month.… Read more
If you've been drooling over the Sony's touch-screen Walkman, the X-Series, since it was initially announced at CES 2009, I've got some good news and some bad. The bad news is that you're going to have to wait some more--the player isn't expected to hit shelves for another month or so. (SonyStyle will start taking preorders today, however.) On the plus side, the good news is considerable. The new Walkman is a joy to use, and it packs in a cadre of fun features, not the least of which are onboard apps for YouTube and Slacker.
Yep, you read right: you can get all the free music you want on the X-Series Walkman. And unlike with the Apple iPod Touch, you won't need a constant Wi-Fi connection to have access to it. While the X-Series does include a wireless antenna for hopping on to hot spots, the Slacker app only needs access to the network when refreshing station content. Each time you refresh, music is cached to the Walkman so that you can listen to it wherever you are, regardless of Internet access. (In other words, it functions in exactly the same way as on the BlackBerry.)
The beauty here is threefold. First, the music is completely free, though you will have to tolerate a few audio ads and skip limits (you can do away with these by signing up for Slacker Radio Plus for $3.99 per month). Also, you don't have to spend countless hours creating custom playlists, and when you get sick of your library on shuffle, you can simply choose from the wide variety of genre- and decade-based stations in the Slacker rotation. Finally, you don't need to connect to a computer to get brand-new music on your MP3 player, although it is worth mentioning that you must hook up the Walkman initially in order to customize which stations you want to live on the device. In addition to the Slacker content, the player supports transferred songs in MP3, WMA, AAC, and WAV format.… Read more
LyricFind has been trying to compile song lyrics into a searchable database since 2000, and after a few years of failed negotiations with rights holders, the company is finally getting some traction.
Earlier this month, it released a lyrics app for the Slacker RadioPlus service. The Web site has never been much use: it only lets you search on snippets of lyrics to try to find song matches; I'm much more interested in entering a song title to get the full lyrics for that song.