Wireless Bluetooth Headphones Review – Hands-Free Entertainment

Wires are seeming increasingly old-school these days. The new generation of headphones are wireless, and the market is flooded with options for those who like to listen to music without getting bogged down in wires. I have good news to report: Bluetooth headphones have come a long way. Although the first generation of Bluetooth wireless headphones could be iffy at best, the latest models offer a clear sound and convenient design that makes them a more useful tool than those of the past. The hi-Edo Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are an example of cool cheap gadgets. Whether you’re looking for headphones for commuting or your next holiday, these offer an array of features at a very reasonable price. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons.

Hands-Free Features

The biggest benefit of these wireless Bluetooth headphones is that you can carry on with your day without being weighed down by wires. You can also use the headphones to talk on the phone, as well as listen to music. There’s no need to untangle headphones or store any extra gear; everything you need is in one handy place. The headphones connect to your smartphone, and with the latest Bluetooth technology the data exchange is fast and reliable. 

So let’s talk specs: the headphones have a battery life of up to 30 hours if you’re actively using them, but if they’re put in standby mode the battery lasts for a good 15 days. The maximum power is 20mW, with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20 KHz. Touch sensitivity of the headphones is 96dB share, and there’s an operating range of approximately ten metres. The headphones are equipped with a built-in microphone that lets you place and receive phone calls, but the primary purpose of these Bluetooth headphones is really listening to music. 

Basic Controls

You can control the volume on your headphones or skip past songs you’re not in the mood for by clicking on the side of the headphones. Although there are some fancier models out there that are voice-controlled, you’ll pay a lot more for that privilege. One area where these headphones do excel is in the design. They’re packaged in a range of fun colours with a minimalistic design, which goes pretty well with anyone’s wardrobe and sense of style. Some headphones can be clunky, but the hi-Edo are fairly chic. You can choose from a wide range of different colour combinations, including white and gray, black and gray, black and pink, white and red, and black and green among others. 

While style isn’t such an important feature to me personally, I do have to say that the headphones were nice and lightweight which made me forget that I was wearing them at times. They were easy to control with the buttons on the side of the right earphone. There’s nothing complicated here about these headphones, but everything worked. The price point for these gadgets is also lower than what you’d pay for new Apple or Bose wireless headphones, so if you’re looking for an affordable gift they can be a good option.

GTI + Underworld -- Play the Road Official Video

Volkswagen Golf GTI + Underworld have collaborated on a project that synchronises driving and music in real time. Play the road generates music via a phone app that's connected to the GTI's onboard computer, reading the driver's location and movements to compose music live.

Subscribe to the Volkswagen UK channel:http://www.youtube.com/user/UKVolkswagen

iTunes maintains its music download dominance as Amazon plays catch-up

Nearly 10-years after the iTunes Music Store first opened up for business, iTunes remains the market leader in digital music downloads.

According to a research report published by the NPD Group earlier this week, iTunes accounted for approximately 63% of all digital music downloads in 2012. Trailing behind is AmazonMP3 with a somewhat respectable 22% share. While Amazon has a ways to go before even getting close to Apple, the world's largest online retailer has been making significant gains in that regard. In 2011, Amazon's share of the digital music download market checked in at 15%, representing a solid 50% increase year over year.

"Since the launch of Apple's iTunes store, digital music downloads have become the dominant revenue source for the recorded music industry and iTunes continues to be the dominant retailer," said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "There's a belief that consumers don't need to buy music because of streaming options, when in fact streamers are much more likely than the average consumer to buy music downloads."

The report adds that 44 million Americans downloaded a digital song or album last year.

To help contextualize the raging success that is the iTunes Music Store, Apple in early February announced that consumers had downloaded over 25 billion songs. That averages out to about 15,000 songs downloaded per minute.

The iTunes Music Store currently offers over 26 million songs to choose from and is available in 119 countries.

[Source: TUAW]

Spotify Expanding to More Markets Later This Week

Spotify will expand its reach to eight other countries as early as tomorrow, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans. CNET on Monday first reported the possible growth, saying the on-demand subscription-based service could arrive in Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Baltics and Iceland.

As other big companies look to introduce streaming services of their own—AppleGoogleand Amazon, just to name a few—expansion will be key to Spotify’s increasing popularity. As of March, the company said it was servicing over 24 million active users, 6 million of whom were paying subscribers. With such a solid on-demand model, some would say better than Pandora’s automated service, Spotify has become one of the fastest-growing digital music companies ever, CNET said.

Since launching in 2008, Spotify has garnered a reputation for paying labels some pretty healthy returns—the service pays 70 percent of every dollar it makes. That puts the service right behind iTunes for label revenue. With such an enormous presence, the likelihood of securing more and better deals will only go up. And, thus, more expansion.

With so many other companies attempting to enter into the crowded streaming music scene, Spotify is further pulling ahead as the defacto choice. For anyone in any of the eight new markets, enjoy.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

It Sounds Like Twitter Music Will Integrate With Some Big Services

Twitter’s new music app may not be available for us mere mortals, but that’s not stopping folks from snooping into its details. Right now, all that’s available to everyone that’s not Ryan Seacrest is a landing page, but not much else. Thanks to designer Youssef Sarhan, information on Twitter’s new initiative has been made available, and it looks like the service will connect with pretty much every big name out there: Spotify, Rdio, iTunes, Soundcloud, Vevo and YouTube.

A few of the connections were already mentioned in a previous rumor, though we didn’t know 100 percent how deeply the integration would go. Aside from some code elements detailing which services #music can connect with, Sarhan’s finding also reveals users will be able to purchase songs, suggest music, see artist biographies and follow users for easier music discovery.

In addition to an incoming app, it sounds like there will also be a Web interface to match, so every Twitter user can hop into the service once it launches (in a week). A lot of information has been extracted from the site itself, and it hasn’t even been made active. We’re bound to hear more throughout the weekend and week before the service officially launches to the masses.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Twitter Music Is Available… But Only For Celebrities

Bad news, folks. The Twitter Music iOS app is not launching today as originally expected, nor is it arriving this weekend — at least, not for the masses. If you’re famous, however, that’s another story entirely.

Yesterday AllThingsD pegged a Friday release, to line up with the opening of the Coachella music festival this weekend, but then recanted that in a new post today. Apparently only “influencers” are getting the music discovery app early. Whether you consider Ryan Seacrest an influencer is a matter of opinion, but that’s why the American Idol host and Dick Clark protégé was playing around with it yesterday.

What’s with Seacrest and mobile appdevelopers? They just can’t seem to stop pelting him with pre-release apps. (SeeZynga/DrawSomething 2.)

If Twitter Music’s any good, more tweets are likely to follow from other celebrities. Assuming no nasty or insulting tweets go out about the app, it’s kind of brilliant on the part of Twitter’s marketing team. Nothing like a little buzz to tempt the masses, and if there are any bugs, the stars are essentially beta testers who can help sniff them out ahead of a public release.

As for the rest of us, AllThingsD now says we’ll get our hands on it in a week. So hang tight, and try not to be jealous if you notice rock stars and personalities all atwitter over this. Think of it like they’re doing you a service.

As the name suggests, the app focuses on music discovery, recommending artists and songs based on a variety of factors, such as who the user follows. (Justin Bieber and Alicia Keys fans would get very different suggestions.) Clips play from right inside the app, courtesy of third-parties like iTunes and SoundCloud, and Vevo powers the integrated music video playback.

For now, it’s iOS only, but we’ll keep our eyes open for any announcements or leads regarding Twitter Music for other platforms.

Are you excited to get your hands on this new music app from Twitter? Think it could pull you away from Pandora, Spotify or another favorite? Weigh in.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

GTA radio hits Spotify and iTunes

The company has now re-created a massive array of its iconic in-game radio stations as playlists for both Spotify and iTunes.

Eight different Grand Theft Auto titles are represented, from GTA III to Liberty City Stories, Vice City and, of course, GTA IV. Sadly, you won't get the fake in-game advertising, but Rockstar suggests people check out its Advertising Council Repository if you need that particular trip down nostalgia lane.

However, Rockstar noted: "This is all the music from these stations that's currently available on each service — some songs don't yet exist on either Spotify or iTunes, but we're hoping to be able to add the original songs within our control where possible, soon."

For a full list of all stations broken down by game, click here. The page also has direct links for the playlists in both Spotify and iTunes.

[Source: CNET]

HMV Stores to Live On in the U.K.

The HMV chain of music retail stores in the United Kingdom has been purchased, pulling it out of administration status.

HMV filed for administrative protection – the U.K. equivalent of bankruptcy – this past Jan. while it went in a search of a buyer. Despite having closed 66 of its stores during this time, the company has indeed found a buyer in Hilco, the company that also holds the Canadian HMV stores, has agreed to purchase the remaining 141 stores which are comprised of 132 HMV branded stores, and the remaining nine Fopp locations.

Hilco plans to retain all of the 2,643 employees in the company, and will move away from a plan that would have seen the HMV stores move deeper into tablets and away from music and video.

While no price of the purchase was announced, The Hollywood Reporter stated that some reports pegged the price of the company at £50 million, or approximately $76 million USD.

The 141 stores included in the sale are:

Aberdeen, Ayr, Banbury, Bangor (Wales), Basildon, Basingstoke, Bath, Belfast Donegall Arcade, Birmingham Bullring, Blackpool, Bluewater, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton Churchill, Bristol Broadmead, Bristol Cribbs, Bromley, Bury, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Canary Wharf, Canterbury, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Chester, Chichester, Colchester, Coventry, Crawley, Cwmbran, Darlington, Derby, Doncaster, Dundee, East Kilbride, Eastbourne, Edinburgh Fort Retail, Edinburgh Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh Princes Street, Exeter, FOPP Bristol, FOPP Cambridge, FOPP Covent Garden, FOPP Edinburgh, FOPP Glasgow Byres Road, FOPP Glasgow Union Street, FOPP Gower Street London, FOPP Manchester, FOPP Nottingham, Gateshead, Glasgow Argyle, Glasgow Buchanan, Glasgow Fort, Gloucester, Grimsby, Guernsey, Guildford, Hanley, Harlow, Harrogate, Hastings, Hatfield, Hereford, High Wycombe, Horsham, Hull, Inverness, Ipswich, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Islington, Jersey, Kettering, Kings Lynn, Kingston, Leamington Spa, Leeds Headrow, Leeds White Rose, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool One, Livingston, Llandudno, Maidstone, Manchester 90 Market Street, Manchester Trafford, Mansfield, Merry Hill, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newport (Wales), Northampton, Norwich Gentlemans Walk, Norwich Chapelfield, Nottingham Victoria, Nuneaton, Oxford, Oxford Circus, Peterborough Queensgate, Plymouth Drake Circus, Poole, Portsmouth Commercial Road, Portsmouth Gun Wharf Quay, Preston, Reading Oracle, Romford, Selfridges Oxford Street, Sheffield High Street, Sheffield Meadowhall, Shrewsbury, Solihull, Southampton, Southend Victoria, Southport, Speke Park, Staines, Stevenage, Stirling, Stockport, Stratford upon Avon, Stratford City Westfield, Sunderland, Sutton, Swansea, Taunton, Thanet, Thurrock, Truro, Tunbridge Wells, Uxbridge, Westfield London, Wimbledon, Winchester, Wolverhampton, Worcester, Worthing, Yeovil, York.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Apple “iRadio” Service Reportedly Launching this Summer

Apple will reportedly launch its own music service, possibly dubbed “iRadio,” later this summer sources speaking to The Verge said Friday. Apple has struggled to get music labels on board with its alleged plans to launch either a subscription music service or a radio service similar to Pandora, but apparently it has made headwinds with Warner and Universal, two companies who had previously been wary of such a service from Apple.

“iRadio is coming,” one source told The Verge. “There’s no doubt about it anymore.” Depending on the rates Apple earns, potential competitors such as Pandora could take a huge hit. We imagine that the product will be announced when the iPhone 5S is unveiled in June, although it’s possible that Apple will hold a separate event for it.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

iTunes is more than earning its keep

As writer John Paczkowski notes in an AllThingsD article today, iTunes was originally "conceived as a low-margin 'break-even' operation intended to drive hardware sales" -- in particular sales of iPods. Now that the iTunes Store is used to sell more than just songs and videos, it's turning into a "significant profit center for the company".

Paczkowski was commenting on numbers from Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, who notes that now that Apple has folded its in-house software group into iTunes, Apple software is having "significant implications for iTunes margins." The software, including items like iWork, iLife, Final Cut Pro, Aperture and more, has much higher profit margins than traditional iTunes items like music, books, video, and apps.

Dediu deduced that Apple sold about US$3.6 billion worth of its software products in 2012, and that profit margins for software is usually about 50 percent. If that's the case for Apple -- and Dediu is usually correct in his assumptions -- then iTunes is generating operating margins of about 15 percent on gross revenue. That's about $2 billion in profit for 2012, or as Paczkowski so eloquently put it, one "hell of a way to break even."

[Source: TUAW]

Spotify - Transforming the way we listen to music on the move

Nowadays, we can live our life to a constant soundtrack as music is easier than ever to listen to on the go. Most people now have smartphones with access to the internet and downloadable apps, so will have a huge library of music at their fingertips. As well as fm and digital radio being a feature of many phones, Spotify is also available to make choosing and listening to music easy. Spotify began as a service accessible through your computer and in 2009 became available to mobile phone users too.

Don’t miss out on this revolution in mobile music, and upgrade your phone to a Spotify-compatible version. The app is free to download and you can also save money when purchasing your new smartphone. Rather than chucking your old model, why not sell it online and put the money raised towards a newer, better version. It’s simple to sell blackberry curve and a whole range of other mobiles using specialist websites. You can pop in the name and model of your phone and receive a quote, so you know how much you can expect from your sale. Then post your blackberry or other mobile device and receive a cheque in the post or direct to your account.

The launch of Spotify for mobile phones in 2009 heralded a new era of music on the go. At the time the app gave users access to around 4 million tracks, making it easy to search and pick music to suit your mood wherever internet access was available. Even when not in an internet hotspot, the launch meant that music was still accessible, as Spotify allowed users to save more than 3,000 tracks on their mobile to play offline.

You can personalise Spotify on your mobile phone by creating a playlist. Simply type in the name of the track you want and add this to your playlist – perhaps you could group tunes by band, year, genre or for a certain occasion so however you’re feeling and wherever you are, you’ll have a musical accompaniment! You can even share your playlist with your friends, by uploading it onto your Spotify public profile, or through Facebook.

If you’re looking to save money and aren’t sure about whether to pay Spotify’s subscription free, you can try out the service on your mobile with the Premium free trial. One of the service’s top features is its enhanced sound quality. Not only can you enjoy your music through headphones, but the great sound quality means you can switch your mobile to speaker and share your favourite tunes with your friends too. This version is free of ads, allows unlimited music and even lets you take tracks abroad with you.

If listening to music whilst you’re out and about sounds appealing, but you’re not sure which genres or bands to choose, why not use online radio through your mobile instead? Apps like BBC iPlayer give access to a number of digital radio stations, and also feature ‘listen again’ options providing further choice if there’s nothing live you fancy hearing. Or, for a personalised service, Spotify Radio will learn what you like and select appropriate tracks. Whilst listening to songs through the Spotify app you can rate them with a thumbs up or a thumbs down, which is logged by Spotify and used to choose songs you’ll like.

Listening to music whilst out and about – and even when travelling abroad – is quick, easy and affordable. Just make sure you have a top mobile phone to allow for these great services!

HMV could be saved by Asda as WH Smith sells CDs, DVDs again

Bottom-patting supermarket Asda could be about to step in for HMV, as WH Smith looks to fill the high street CD and DVD void left by the ailing music and movie chain.

The Telegraph reports that Asda is in talks with HMV's administrator Deloitte to take over the music, movie and game retailer. Restructuring company Hilco has already bought the chain's debt and was the bookie's favourite to take over, but Asda could swoop in for the remaining stores instead.

Asda is reportedly looking to continue selling under the HMV brand rather than simply taking over the buildings owned by HMV.

One of the deciding factors in who gets to rescue HMV is likely to be the support of record labels, film studios and other suppliers. Suppliers are said to have agreed favourable credit terms with Hilco, but are also likely to be on good terms with Asda, which also sells chart CDs, DVDs and games.

Asda could be looking to the HMV brand to rival Blinkbox, the online movie and TV show streaming and download service owned by Tesco.

Pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap 

Ironically, the arrival of CDs and DVDs piled high and sold cheap in supermarkets has been one of the factors contributing to the decline in record shops-- as a great man once observed -- albeit not as much of a factor as online sales and downloads.

Stationer and newsagent WH Smith is reported to be planning a return to selling CDs and DVDs in select locations, to plug the gap left by HMV for movies and music on the high street.

Just 116 HMV stores are set to remain open, roughly half the number open before the wheels fell off. HMV had 223 shops and 4,123 staff when it spiralled into administration in January, with well over 1,000 jobs still under threat.

[Source: CNET]