Musical Experiments: Meet Slot Music

slot musicEfforts by the major music labels to find new revenue sources that will replace eroding CD sales often have the feeling of things being thrown at the wall to see what sticks.  Today, the Big 4 (Sony BMG, Universal, Vivendi and Warner Music Group) threw a flash memory card with a little help from a hardware maker.

SanDisk, the world’s leading supplier of flash memory cards announced the new initiative to sell the tiny memory chips preloaded with full albums of MP3 music.  Plug the card into your MP3 capable phone, or portable player and it’s ready to go.  It’s near instantly accessible tunes in the palm of your hand. 

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Sony Plants Flag in Living Room: Aims for Lead in Connected Electronics

playtvA week ago, at Sony’s annual meeting, Howard Stringer said the company’s top priority was “to restore profitability in [the] television and game businesses;” both of which lost money during the last fiscal year.  Thursday, Sony began to publicly outline their blueprint for making that happen.  At the center of it, a keystone they say, will be networking – connected entertainment appliances.

Sony is planning to spend $16.7b (1.8 trillion Yen) over three years (through March 2011).  The aim will be to become “the leading global provider of networking consumer electronics,” Stringer says.  By the end of the process 90% of Sony’s product categories will have networking and wireless capabilities. 

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iPhone 3G: Detail by Detail

iphone 3gFor a short while the headline was all set to read “Software Stuns, Hardware Stunningly Absent” but Apple saved the biggest (and most expected) news for last.  After spending an hour talking about software and services, Steve Jobs reassured an anxious audience of Apple fans and press with exactly the news they were anticipating: the birth if the second iPhone, iPhone 3G.

The new iPhone will hit retailers July 11.  As widely expected, the phone was built to operate on faster third generation or 3G mobile networks (UMTS, HSDPA, GSM).  With this upgrade, the phone will be able to download data and Internet content at average rates of about three to five times faster than the first generation EDGE powered iPhone.   (And for those outside of a 3G area, the new phone is backwards compatible and will still support the intermediate speed EDGE service).

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EA Confirms Buy of Social Network Rupture

rumors confirmedUpdate June 4: A month after the rumor surfaced (see the below article reprint), Electronic Arts has officially confirmed the purchase of Three SF, a.k.a. Rupture, the social network for video gamers founded by Napster creator, Shawn Fanning. Few details beyond confirmation have been provided. The unofficial word, as was the case a month ago when the story first broke, is that the deal was in the neighborhood of $30m. EA promises more detail in the future. The original Metue article from May when the sale was not yet confirmed is reprinted below.

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Mapping the iPhone World: Apples Carrier Agreements Visually and By the Numbers

iphone dice[Update June 4: Japan was up for grabs and NTT DoComo was rumored to be front runner for local iPhone distribution there. In a surprise twist, Apple appears to have opted to give the lucrative contract to number three provider, Softbank. Softbank has just over 18.8m subscribers, equal to about 18.8 percent market share. They also have only about one third the subscriber base of NTT DoCoMo but they are growing more aggressively.]

The anticipated d-day (delivery day) for iPhone 2.0 is rapidly approaching.  With it, the buzz machines are in overdrive and speculation about features and functions is bordering on frenzy.  Some outlets are showing “leaked” pictures, others claiming the inside track on feature sets.  Amidst this circus, which seems to be running without need of further factual fuel, Apple has been steadily working a different agenda:  expanding their potential market through new global carrier partners.  The depth and scope of this new found reach, from India, to Scandinavia, to Hong Kong, by the numbers, and in graphics, is as impressive (if not more so) than the volume of hype.

iphone carrier world mapThis edition of Metue’s “By the Numbers” report takes a one stop look at the iPhone by carrier relationship.  Like the game of risk, this one is all about Apple’s sweeping tide across the map of the world.   

For the quick overview of this data, there is a visual map.  It shows existing market penetration and carrier partners.  (Clicking the link, or clicking the thumbnail image above, will feature the full size version.)  

For greater detail, tables presented below run through the data used for the map.  These include a chronological list of carrier partnerships announced along with the geography covered and total available subscribers per carrier. Click to Read More

Solar Apples: Patenting Future Power Sources

solar appleThere you are, rocking out to your favorite rock song, drumming your fingers to the guitar riff… or maybe you are 30 minutes into an important phone call, the other person waiting for your reply…  or you’re working away on your laptop, caught up in the middle of something urgent. You’re doing something important. That’s always when it happens. The batteries die.   In the blink of an eye a digital nightmare begins.  It takes just a blip of a second but in that time unsaved work is lost.  Calls are missed.  Songs interrupted.   It’s something that’s happened to us all, a consequence of our digitally connected era.  And it is something inventors and engineers have yet to find a solution for.  But they are trying.

In Apple’s Cupertino research labs, one idea being explored is small scale solar.  In fact, according to reports on the Macrumors website Apple has even filed a patent that aims to harness solar power to fuel future generations of portable devices (iPods, iPhones, Macbook’s etc).

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Futurism: Gaming Gesture Controls The Next Generation?

3d futureThere have been a lot of evolutionary changes in how people use the Internet and computing technology but when it comes to direct forms of human interaction, things have moved slowly.  Despite advances in touch screens and voice automation we still rely principally on the decades old technology of keyboards and mice. We still do most of our web interaction through browsers.    Despite the vast increases in processing power when it comes to machine interaction, we’ve only moved in small steps.

The lack of innovation isn’t because existing technologies were perfect, or without need of improvement.  It’s just that technology changes faster than peoples habits.  When it comes to communication, we move slowly.  The QWERTY keyboard, after all, was invented by Christopher Sholes in 1874.  Click to Read More

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