Top streaming-radio apps for iOS and Android

iPhone
(Credit:
CNET)

There are tons of music-listening apps in both of the big app stores, but when you want to find new music, there’s nothing better than a streaming-radio app. These apps are set up for browsing through stations and genres so you can get a fresh dose of new options based on the music you like.

The obvious choice here is an app like Pandora (free – iOS|Android), but there are a few I like that have other options that might appeal to different types of music listeners.

This week’s collection of apps is all about listening to streaming music on your smartphone. The first app gives you a huge number of live stations from around the globe you can listen to. The second lets you listen to streams as well, but with a subscription so you can pick and choose your music too. The third is a free app that shares some features of each of the first two, and which might be the best of the bunch.

TuneIn Radio

Even though you’re listening to live radio, you can often buy the song on iTunes (for iOS).


(Credit:
Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

TuneIn Radio (free – iOS|Android) has an intuitive interface that makes it a snap to listen to streaming radio while you’re on the move. It offers more than 50,000 stations and 120,000 shows from around the globe, plus, with the help of your iPhone’s GPS, it can even serve up all of your local favorites.

Upon launch, TuneIn lets you drill down to exactly what you want to listen to. You can browse local radio, recommended stations, stations for different languages, and even podcasts. You can also choose from categories like sports or talk radio.

Like other radio-streaming apps, TuneIn gives you an enormous list of music genres to choose from, each with a long list of options from around the world, with local choices at the top.

Once you find a few stations you like, you can easily add them to your preset list, right from the station page. In addition, the station page gives you album art for the current song and the option to share via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail. In some cases, you may also find a shopping cart icon that brings you to the MP3 or album listing on Amazon.com.

For those who are a bit more serious about their streaming media, an upgrade to TuneIn Pro might be worthwhile. The Pro version adds some nifty DVR-like features, so you can pause, rewind, and even record live radio. TuneIn Radio keeps all your recordings in a special section so you can listen to recorded favorites later.

Finally, you may notice that some stations are marked “Restricted by Broadcasters,” which means they’re not available for streaming through TuneIn. What’s nice is that if you happen to click on one of these, TuneIn will automatically find and connect you to a similar station, which is often just as good.

Overall, TuneIn Radio is definitely a solid streaming-radio app. It’s easy to use, it performs well, and it’s available for free at the App Store. Meanwhile, an upgrade to TuneIn Radio Pro and all of its DVR-like capabilities will only set you back 99 cents.

Slacker Radio

Slacker lets you listen to custom stations, but be careful not to reach your limit of song skips (bottom).


(Credit:
Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Slacker Radio (free – iOS|Android) is another great option for listening to streaming radio with an intuitive interface that makes it easy to find what you want quickly.

After logging in (a quick e-mail and password signup), the dark-themed app gives you several options for launching stations. You can tap icons from a list to search, browse Slacker stations, listen to favorites (once you’ve chosen some), or select from popular stations. Each selection on the first screen leads to another list where you can drill down to find the stations, genres, and music you want to listen to.

While playing a track, Slacker displays both album art as well as artist bios and album reviews (for most songs and artists). The controls to pause, skip, save, and remove an artist from your playlist are located at the bottom of the interface. You’ll be able to fine-tune your station requirements while it plays as well as create custom stations. A skip button is available for moving on to the next song, but you get limited skips per session.

Much like Pandora, the free version of Slacker Radio is ad-supported and lets you search for a song and then create a station of similar music based on that song. If you want to take advantage of playlist caching or music-on-demand features, you’ll need to sign up for a subscription. With Slacker Radio Plus ($3.99 per month), you’ll be able to save station caches for later listening even when offline. With a Slacker Premium subscription ($9.99/month), you’ll get on-demand music listening so you can search for and listen to the exact songs and albums you want. Both subscription packages also come with lyrics for most songs.

Slacker Radio is a solid choice for streaming music with an enormous music library, and even with just the free app, you can create and listen to radio stations of your favorite genres of music. If you want a new streaming-radio option, Slacker is a great choice.

iHeartRadio

When you like a song, hit the thumbs-up button to make sure you get more like it.


(Credit:
Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

iHeartRadio (free – iOS|Android) is an old favorite of mine that lets you stream radio from over 1,500 live radio stations or create custom stations based on a song or artist. The best thing about it, though, is that your custom stations are completely ad-free.

Live radio stations from all over the U.S. are available, including everything from pop, country, rock, electronic, and urban, to talk and college stations. You can browse by genre or location and listen to music until you hit a song you don’t like, then hit the Scan button to move on to another radio station (no matter the location) that offers similar music. If you like a particular station, you can save it to listen to again later.

Creating custom stations is incredibly easy as well. Just pick a song or artist and iHeartRadio assembles a playlist from a library of more than 15 million songs and 400,000 artists. When you’re listening to a song, the app has a feature called the Discovery Tuner that lets you set how much lesser-known music is included in your station. That means you can just hear the hits most everyone knows, or you can hear music that’s not so mainstream, and the controls are always available for you to switch. There’s also a skip button (with no limitations) so you can move on to the next song whenever you want.

With iHeartRadio, you won’t be able to choose your song directly (the way you can with a subscription to Slacker), but you do get features the other apps don’t offer for free. While a song is playing, there’s a button onscreen that lets you create a new custom station, view the artist’s bio, view the song’s lyrics, and buy the song from
iTunes. A recent update to the app also lets you set a sleep timer so you can listen to your favorite station and have it turn off after a preselected period of time.

iHeartRadio is not new to the App Store, but what started out as a strong streaming-radio app has only gotten better over time. If you want an excellent streaming-radio app and don’t mind not being able to pick songs directly, iHeartRadio is a great choice.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/g5V6uoXhQUk/

Scout bridges navigation gap between car and phone

Scout navigation app

The destination shown on this navigation system was delivered through smartphone integration.


(Credit:
Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

LOS ANGELES — If you ever read an address off your phone and typed it into your
car‘s navigation system, you experienced one of the biggest disconnects between smartphones and cars. At the LA Auto Show, Telenav demonstrated how its Scout navigation app solves this problem.

Last September, Ford and Telenav announced that Scout was compatible with Ford’s Sync AppLink app integration feature. Sync AppLink lets drivers control compatible apps through their car’s interface. Scout was the first navigation app to work with AppLink, and joined a growing number of compatible apps.

Telenav’s Mark Burfeind demonstrated the new Scout integration for CNET in a Mustang equipped with Ford’s previous generation navigation system and the latest version of Sync AppLink. Pairing an
Android phone with the Scout app to the car through Bluetooth, Burfeind used the car’s voice command to launch Scout, which appeared as one of the choices on the AppLink screen.

AppLink was able to access destinations saved in the phone’s Favorites and Recents list, and search for nearby points of interests based on categories. Burfeind requested Favorites through voice command, and the Mustang’s infotainment system began displaying and reading out each destination, one at a time. Choosing one, the car loaded it into its navigation system and computed the route.

As another example of the system’s capabilities, Burfeind chose the category Coffee, causing Scout to do an online search for nearby coffee shops. Again, the car read each result out one at a time, then showed the first three results on a screen. He was able to choose one and have the car compute the route. It seems tedious to have the car read out the results so slowly, but Telenav engineered the AppLink interface in this manner to avoid distracting drivers.

Beyond the phone and car integration, Telenav maintains the Scout.me Web site, which lets users search for destinations that will then show up in the Scout apps on their phones.

Although Scout worked fine in the navigation-equipped Mustang, it really shines when running with one of Ford’s cars lacking navigation, but equipped with AppLink. In that environment, a user could control the Scout app through the car’s voice command, searching for destinations or choosing one from the Favorites or Recents lists. Scout would use the car’s own GPS chip and antenna to determine its location, then compute the route on the phone. Route guidance would appear as turn-by-turn directions on a screen in the car.

Scout navigation app

Scout AppLink integration lets drivers request destinations by Recents, Favorites, and category searches.


(Credit:
Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

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Dirk’s personal coach Holger Geschwindner arrives in Dallas

DALLAS – It’s been exactly six weeks since Dirk Nowitzki underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

The Mavs are being mum about whether Nowitzki has resumed basketball activities, as he had hoped to do at this point, but there was a pretty strong hint hanging out on the balcony above the Mavs’ practice court Thursday. His longtime mentor and personal coach Holger Geschwindner has arrived in town.

“He’s doing a little bit more each day,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Nowitzki, “but it’s not time for a Dirk update each day.”

Carlisle noted that Geschwindner also worked with other players on the Mavs’ roster. Geschwindner did put Rodrigue Beaubois through drills after Thursday’s practice, but it’s unlikely he flew in from Germany to work on a third-string point guard’s game.

Nowitzki, who originally hoped to resume basketball activities a few weeks after the operation despite the official announcement that it’d take “about six weeks,” recently said that he hopes to be playing in games by mid-December.

“There is no timetable,” Carlisle said. “It’s going to be whenever Mother Nature and his rehab merge, whenever that magic moment is.”

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4693014/dirks-personal-coach-holger-geschwindner-arrives-in-dallas

Lenovo A586 touts voice unlock through Baidu, A*STAR verification tech

BAIDU-I2R RESEARCH CENTRE (BIRC) BRINGS FIRST SPEAKER VERIFICATION TECHNOLOGY INTO SMARTPHONES WITH BUILT-IN VOICEPRINT FEATURE

Baidu-I2R Research Centre (BIRC) Brings First Speaker Verification Technology Into Smartphones With Built-In Voiceprint Feature

BIRC’s state-of-the-art technology unlocks Lenovo-Baidu smartphones with user’s voice

1. Singapore, 30 November 2012 – Using your voice as a unique identification to unlock your smartphone is no longer a fantasy or just another scene from a futuristic movie. The technology will be embedded in Lenovo’s smartphone – Lenovo A586, which will be available from 30th November 2012 in China through major telecommunications providers and online shops. This innovative Speaker Verification technology was pioneered by A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) and enhanced by the Baidu-I2R Research Centre (BIRC).

2. The adoption of the Speaker Verification technology in the Lenovo A586 smartphone demonstrates A*STAR’s success in translating results from research collaborations with corporations in Singapore to industry applications. It also marks a major milestone for BIRC, a joint laboratory between A*STAR’s I2R and Baidu, Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU), the leading Chinese language Internet search provider. BIRC, Baidu’s first overseas joint RD facility, officially opened in Singapore in July this year.

3. The Lenovo A586 smartphone is the first in the industry that incorporates this Speaker Verification technology into its operating system. With this distinctive feature, an authorized user can unlock the smartphone simply by speaking a passphrase, without the need to use PINs, passwords or finger swipe patterns.

4. Dr. Li Haizhou, Co-Director of BIRC said, “We are delighted that our months of hard work and efforts are bearing fruits with the launch of the Lenovo A586 that incorporates our Speaker Verification technology. This is a strong endorsement of user-inspired research and cutting-edge speech and language technology in I2R and BIRC. We look forward to more innovative products from the Baidu and I2R partnership.”

5. “Lenovo A586’s adoption of the Speaker Verification technology that is developed through our joint effort with Baidu demonstrates I2R’s commitment to translate their expertise in speech and language technologies into products that benefits consumers and the industry. It is indeed encouraging that an A*STAR-developed technology is being deployed in China, the largest and world’s fastest growing smartphone market,” said Dr. Tan Geok Leng, Executive Director of I²R.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/01/lenovo-a586-touts-voice-unlock-through-baidu-astar/

Android-based Ouya game console shipping soon

Early birds get their hands on Ouya after December 28.


(Credit:
Ouya)

Let the gamers,
Android nuts, and open-source geeks rejoice — the Ouya is shipping on time!

Well, at least the developers’ consoles are, that is. Ouya first garnered attention by raising more than $8.5 million on Kickstarter this summer to create an inexpensive, open-source, Android-based game system.

Early supporters of the crowdfunding campaign got first dibs on a finished Ouya for as little as $95, but those aren’t scheduled to ship until March. However, the hundreds of folks who ponied up $699 or more for a first-run, rooted developers’ system with early SDK access get to experience Christmas twice in the same week when their consoles ship on December 28.

If creators of the Ouya do fulfill their original commitment to ship the dev kits in December, they’ll deserve kudos. Plenty of other Kickstarter-funded projects have run into snags meeting original timelines and commitments — the Pebble watch is now months late on its original ship date and still working out production issues, for example.

Ouya points out that all consoles will actually be dev kits, but the late December batch is a special group that cost more to produce and give big early backers a first crack at working with the platform. The only catch for developers is that at least some part of the game play has to be available for free, be it a demo or the whole shebang.

Ouya is also working on its own ODK (Ouya development kit) that game designers will be able to access. At the same time, Ouya says it’s been busy optimizing Android Jelly Bean for gameplay on a large screen.

If Ouya takes off, 2013 could be a year in which a certain segment of the population gets even less exposure to the sun than in the past.

If you missed out on the first Ouya rush, there’s still a chance to get in on the ground floor noob level. Ouya is giving away 10 developers’ consoles next month.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/CwEniUfm7yo/

New Fiesta makes small cars cool

2014 Ford Fiesta

The new Fiesta modernizes its looks with current Ford styling cues.


(Credit:
Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

LOS ANGELES — Leading up to the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford teased a couple of technologies for the 2014 Fiesta model, then brought out the
car at the show. With an innovative new engine option and its own MyFord Touch system, the new Fiesta should be a high-tech fuel sipper.

Last week Ford handed out specifications for a new engine option in the 2014 Fiesta, a 1-liter three-cylinder Ecoboost already in use in Europe. The engine sounds ridiculously small by U.S. standards, but its turbo and direct injection help it achieve 123 horsepower, which should be more than enough to propel the little car.

At the same time, Ford expects it to get stellar fuel economy. The highway rating should come in well over 40 mpg, given the size of the engine. However, EPA estimates have not been released.

The 2014 Fiesta will also receive a new a MyFord Touch infotainment system specifically designed for the car. It uses a 6.5-inch LCD, smaller than that found in cars such as the Focus or C-Max. Ford redesigned the touch-screen interface and added refined the voice command system. Ford announced the new infotainment suite earlier this week.

One more thing

Ford also rolled out the ST version of the Fiesta, a high-performance version of the car. In ST guise, the Fiesta gets a larger, 1.6-liter Ecoboost engine, this one producing 197 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Similar to the Focus ST, the Fiesta ST will only come with a six-speed manual transmission. If the suspension tuning is anything like that of its bigger brother, it should be a precision handler with excellent response.

2014 Ford Fiesta

The Fiesta ST has a few cues to distinguish it from the standard version, such as the ST badge on the grille.


(Credit:
Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/mHpI/~3/mj34UFuuwus/

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