Internet Radio for Vehicles Set To Explode: Pandora Driving Demand

  • The number of vehicles worldwide with Internet radio service is projected to grow from 168,000 in 2010 to 24 million in 2018, according to IHS iSuppli.
  • U.S. sales alone are expected to move from 149,000 to 10.9 million during the same period.
  • “The next several years will see an explosion in the use of in-vehicle apps in cars, driven by booming shipments of automobiles employing head units designed to integrate Cloud-based content,” says IHS. “These apps, whether built into cars or provided via connected mobile devices like smartphones, will provide a range of infotainment, entertainment, remote diagnostics and navigation services. Internet radio is expected to lead the in-vehicle app revolution.”
  • The study concludes that the following are currently driving demand: Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker and Spotify (and in the Cloud: Apple’s iCloud, Google Music and Amazon’s Cloud Drive).

Google Goes Live with Music Discovery Site Magnifier

  • Three months after Google launched its cloud-based Music Beta, the company has introduced a new music discovery site called Magnifier.
  • According to the Official Google Blog: “Magnifier will feature great music and the people who make it, including videos of live performances, interviews with artists, explorations of different musical genres and free songs that you can add to your Music Beta collection.”
  • To kick-off Magnifier this week, Google is featuring indie rockers My Morning Jacket. “We’re giving away two of their tracks to Music Beta users, one of which is an exclusive to Magnifier: a live performance of ‘The Day is Coming.’ To get these free tracks and hundreds of other songs in our Free Song Archive, you need a Music Beta by Google account (if you don’t have an account, request an invitation).”
  • There is no mention that Google analyzes your Music Beta library to suggest new songs, but they certainly could do so.

Review: Gizmodo Selects the Best Cloud Storage Services

  • Gizmodo takes an in-depth look at 11 popular cloud storage services and provides analysis of each based on pricing, features and functionality.
  • This is a great bird’s-eye view for those who may be wondering what makes each service distinct.
  • The site picks SugarSync as the clear winner, which offers 5GB of free storage and has plans ranging from 30-500GB starting at $50 a year.
  • “It combines the best bits of all of the other services and weaves it together into a fast and intuitive package,” reports Gizmodo about SugarSync. “It worked exactly like we wanted to. Super powerful, super easy, and tons of features.”
  • Additional top services include Google (Budget Winner), Microsoft SkyDrive (Free Winner) and Dropbox (Your Mom’s Winner).

New Philips HDTVs Will Access Cloud Games and Set-Top Functions

  • Philips announced it will be including streaming set-top and gaming functions in some of its new HDTV sets.
  • The Philips 4000 and 5000 series, which use the CloudTV platform of ActiveVideo Networks, can access cloud-based games streamed as MPEG files.
  • Both lines will include Philips MediaConnect, that enables wirelessly connecting the TV and PC.
  • Other features include NetTV (offering services such as Netflix, VUDU, Facebook, Film Fresh, Pandora and Twitter), V-tuner Internet radio and built-in Wi-Fi support.
  • The 4000 series features six screen sizes, ranging from 19 to 55 inches, while the 5000 series adds another 10 screens, from 40 to 55 inches.

Federal Agency Cuts Costs by Moving Email to the Cloud

  • U.S. General Services Administration (that oversees the bulk of purchasing and acquisitions for the federal government) is the first federal agency to migrate its email systems completely into the cloud.
  • Unisys recently completed moving GSA’s 17,000 employee email accounts into the Google Apps for Government email client.
  • According to Digital Trends, “Unisys claims the move should save the GSA about 50 percent over the infrastructure, maintenance and personnel costs of an in-house email system. The change is part of a federal effort to save around $3 billion over the next five years by shutting down 40 percent of the federal government’s costly data centers.”
  • Nextgov.com reports an additional 15 agencies — including the USDA, NOAA and the Army — have plans to move into the cloud.

Logitech Takes to the Cloud with Mobile Video Meetings

  • Logitech’s LifeSize division — headquartered in Austin, Texas — is looking to the cloud in an effort to extend its videoconferencing reach.
  • The company is introducing the $1,499 LifeSize Passport Connect, a new videoconferencing system that integrates with the company’s cloud-based LifeSize Connections service.
  • The high-defintion endpoint system is built around a Logitech webcam and is priced below other LifeSize end systems.
  • Logitech also announced it has acquired Italian mobile video company, Mirial, which offers videoconferencing clients for PCs, Macs, and an array of mobile devices such as Android tablets, iPads and iPhones.
  • The company plans to integrate Mirial’s clients into LifeSize Connections.

AFTRA Ratifies Residuals for Streaming Video Games

  • A new contract was recently ratified by members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) that will provide performers who work on video games a onetime payment when games are streamed over the Internet.
  • The so-called “cloud gaming fee” is the first of its kind, and resolves a longstanding dispute over compensation for the remote delivery of video games.
  • The union represents some 70,000 actors, recording artists and broadcasters.
  • AFTRA’s sister union SAG has yet to negotiate a new video game contract.

Ford Demonstrates the First Private Cloud Vehicle

  • Ford recently demonstrated a “short-range” Wi-Fi network that allows vehicles to communicate in a private cloud with other vehicles.
  • One key application is to alert drivers of potential crash situations in time to allow them to respond. The cloud technology has significant advantages over radar systems.
  • The technology could also enable communication with a traffic management system to help avoid traffic jams, thereby saving time and fuel.
  • Ford hopes to have its intelligent car technology in production as early as 2013.

UltraViolet Opens Licensing Platform, DECE Adds New Members

  • UltraViolet, the cloud-based service that enables consumers to view content across multiple devices, has opened its licensing platform to content, technology and distribution partners.
  • It also welcomed eight new members to its governing consortium, the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), including Blockbuster and Walmart’s VUDU. DECE now includes more than 70 members in ten countries.
  • DECE explained that consumers can expect to start seeing UltraViolet physical media and sell-through content by fall.
  • UltraViolet is intended to make the digitization process more efficient for content creators and to simplify consumer ownership by eliminating the current roadblocks to moving content between systems.
  • For example, a single digital movie purchase could be viewed on a TV, on a desktop PC, and on a portable device (up to six family members can use the same UltraViolet account).
  • According to a related article from paidContent: “Interoperability is the most critical challenge for the digital ecosystem to overcome, and there’s a lot riding on UltraViolet. If the big studios and their partners can’t provide a system for viewing content across platforms that’s simple and relatively inexpensive, digital piracy may continue to ‘solve’ the interoperability problem for them.”

Amazon Announces Cloud Drive and Cloud Player Updates

  • Amazon announced several notable enhancements to its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player service this week.
  • The Cloud Player is finally available for the iPad and has been optimized for Safari (joining existing apps for the Android phone, Android tablet, Mac, and PC).
  • New customers who register for the annual $20/20GB plan will receive unlimited space for music tracks.
  • Cloud Drive users can also store all of their previously Amazon-purchased MP3s for free.

Cloud Music Services Continue to Face Legal Questions

  • The legal debate continues regarding the divergent approaches to cloud-based music lockers proposed by Amazon, Google and Apple.
  • The 2008 Cablevision decision in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals allowed for a remote DVR feature (when done at the direction of users and separate copies were stored for each user as would be done for an in-home DVR). The decision is the strongest legal case for a music locker service.
  • EMI’s current suit against MP3tunes.com will also impact the situation. EMI asserts that music locker services must remove material if they become “aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent.”
  • While Apple has signed agreements with the major labels, it has not yet done so with smaller labels.
  • According to Ars Technica: “Either Apple wasted millions of dollars on licenses it doesn’t need, or Amazon and Google are vulnerable to massive copyright lawsuits.”
  • Google and Amazon will assert their rights under DMCA Safe Harbor and the Cablevision case. In addition, they may have some protection under rights they have to sell music through their online stores.

Plizy: Cloud-Based Video Discovery and Recommendation Platform

  • Plizy is a new cloud-based discovery and recommendation platform for Internet video.
  • The company currently offers an iPad app and will soon roll out to other devices.
  • The app makes recommendations from 300 Web “channels” based on an individual’s video habits, interests and social graph.
  • It downloads content for later viewing where they have agreements with owners.
  • The company is signing deals with content owners for quality content.
  • “You can enjoy TED, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Facebook at the same place. And we are adding something new in the coming days, which is the ability to download some content, so you will be able to download TED videos [for example] and watch them on the plane or the bus or in a train. So we’re trying to push the experience, the discovery, and the access to the best content,” explains Jonathan Benassaya, founder and CEO of Plizy.

Microsoft Launches New Cloud Version of Office

  • Steve Ballmer will launch Office 365 this week: “a combination of communication, collaboration and productivity software delivered via the Internet” that Microsoft refers to as the “next generation cloud service.”
  • The company is hosting a launch event in New York to celebrate the suite’s debut.
  • Office 365 joins a crowded field including Google Docs and VMware’s Zimbra email, but WSJ suggests its biggest competitor might be itself: “The company now needs to convince those computer users, estimated at about one billion, to switch to Office in the cloud without disrupting the legacy version that is financing the transition.”
  • Businesses will be able to buy only the cloud services they need such as email for $2/month or Office for $27/month.
  • Large corporate clients will be allowed to use the service for free until license agreements are renewed.

New App from Samsung Offers Streaming 3D Content

  • Samsung announced that the Explore 3D app on its SmartHub-connected TV interface is now offering free streaming 3D content.
  • The app is streaming 3D movie trailers, music videos, educational content and full programs from Wealth TV.
  • The company says Explore 3D will provide access to paid 3D content later this year, including feature films, shorts, and documentaries.
  • The app is powered by Rovi and includes its Cloud-based metadata and RoxioNow platform.

Phil Harrison: Apple Will Be the Games Industry

  • Edge Magazine speaks with Phil Harrison, former president of Sony Computer Entertainment’s Worldwide Studios, and recently appointed advisory board member of cloud-based streaming game service Gaikai.
  • Harrison answers questions on the future of gaming and suggests the following projections: Games will rely increasingly upon social networks; free-to-play will become the predominant business model in 20 years; local storage will disappear; music, film and television will be consumed like a utility and browsers will replace consoles (in the wake of a next-generation browser war).
  • On the future of non-physical media: “If you live in Korea, it’s already happened, if you live in China, it’s already happened. That’s an easy prediction to make: there is undoubtedly a generation of kids alive on the planet today who will never purchase a physical media package for any of their digital entertainment.”
  • On Apple’s impact on the market: “At this trajectory, if you extrapolate the market-share gains that they are making, forward for ten years – if they carry on unrestrained in their growth, then there’s a pretty good chance that Apple will be the games industry.”

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