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RAIN 2/24: Carmaker Mini uses iPhone's 3G for built-in Internet radio

Posted on: 02/24/2010

MINI-CONNECTEDOFFERS WEB RADIO AND OTHER DATA SERVICES THROUGH IPHONE INTEGRATION

Carmaker Mini will offer an optional central computing system they call Mini Connected in its 2011 Mini Countryman. The system offers a web radio app that uses the Apple iPhone data connection to stream from a selection of Internet radio stations (the article didn’t indicate which stations make up the selection).

See the photo of the car’s center column display showing the Countryman interface used to control the radio. Read more in Electronista.com here. Hat-tip to Ari Shohat at Digitally Imported.

GOOGLE COULD CHALLENGE APPLE’S ONLINE MUSIC SUPREMACY WITH CLOUD-BASED SERVICE

Industry journalist Eliot Van Buskirk has a new article in Wired which illustrates how Google may soon pose a serious challenge to Apple’s dominance in online music with a cloud-based music serivce.

Google might successfully pull paying customers away from iTunes if it were to launch a service that undercut Apple’s prices (even if it’s at a loss), allows users to move and access their cloud-based music collections from anywhere, charges customers with large collections, spurs the home-networked audio sector, and leverages the advantage of owning the “search” market.

“We’re approaching… a time when we stop administering our own music collections on local hard drives, and instead build them online, where they can be accessed on a multitude of connected devices,” he explains. “And, piece by piece, Google is slowly laying the groundwork to be a player in that space.” Read Van Buskirk’s entire article here.

SLACKER ENABLES STATION CACHING FOR ANDROID AND BLACKBERRY APPS

Slacker yesterday enabled “caching” for interactive stations on its Android (and, reportedly, Blackberry, see here and here) smartphone apps. The music caching takes place automatically when the handheld is plugged in (e.g. overnight). The new featured is offered to customers of Slacker’s $5/month subscription service.

Sub-par data connections and increasing network traffic (at least here in the U.S.) can make mobile streamed music-listening less than ideal. One solution for mobile music apps is “data caching” — temporarily storing music on the device when the connection is good, so that the listener can still enjoy music when the connection doesn’t allow good streaming. Slacker’s iPhone and iPod Touch, for now, don’t offer station caching and the “nighttime auto-refresh,” but they say it’ll be offered soon.

Read the press release here.

CANADIAN BROADCASTER NOW SELLING MUSIC DOWNLOADS

Canadian media giant Rogers Communications has launched a DRM-free music download store. Rogers Communications, in addition to its wireless communications and cable television holdings, owns Rogers Media, itself owner of 51 radio stations.

Rogers cable- or wireless phone subscribers will pay $0.69-$1.29 per song (with some full albums less than $10), which they can copy to any suitable device. The purchases can be added to their subscription bills. Rival Telus earlier this month also began offering DRM-free music downloads. Read more from The Hollywood Reporter here.



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