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Microsoft launches Xbox Music, the successor to Zune

Microsoft has officially launched Xbox Music, the successor to Zune. Xbox Music combines the best features of each music service, allowing you to stream or download unlimited amounts of music, listen to personalized internet radio stations with Smart DJ, and buy music a la carte from the Xbox Music Store. Best of all, it’s fully compatible with your existing Zune devices and Windows Phone handsets.

Designed for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Xbox 360, Xbox Music offers a number of features including free ad-supported music streaming on Windows 8, a premium Xbox Music Pass subscription, Smart DJ, and more. The best features, however, will be added in the coming months, including a cloud-based music locker complete with scan-and-match functionality, new ways to share music, a web-based player, and support for Android and iOS.

For a closer look at the Xbox Music service, as well as what it means for you depending on which platforms you own, head on over to our sister site Pocketables.

[Pocketables]




CrowdGadgets subscribers eligible to win eight weeks of great prizes!

CrowdGadgets Newsletter Prizes CrowdGadgets subscribers eligible to win eight weeks of great prizes!

Subscribers of the CrowdGadgets newsletter will be eligible to win eight weeks’ worth of great prizes starting November 7th! The gadgets were selected in honor of each of the sites in the CrowdGather Gadget Network, with Anythingbutipod giving away a Cowon i10.

The CrowdGadgets newsletter complements the CrowdGadgets podcast. Here’s what you could win by subscribing:

November 7th: StreakSmart.comDell Streak 7 WiFi
November 14th: Pocketables.netSamsung Galaxy S WiFi 5.0
November 21st: Anythingbutipod.comCowon i10
November 28th: NothingButTablets.comAmazon Kindle Fire
December 5th: GoodAndEVO.netHTC EVO 3D
December 12th: Anythingbutiphone.comHTC HD7/Trophy Windows Phone
December 19th: ZuneBoards.comStar Wars Xbox 360
December 26th: CrowdGadgets.comAmazon Kindle Fire

All newsletter subscribers will be automatically entered to win one of these awesome gadgets. The contest is open to everyone, not just those in the US, and the results will be announced in the newsletter. All we ask is that the lucky winners contact us so they can redeem their prize.

The fun will kick off with a Dell Streak 7 WiFi next week and continue until the Amazon Kindle Fire is given away on December 26th. Once again, you only need be a CrowdGadgets newsletter subscriber. Good luck!




Zune Music coming to Australia on November 16

Zune Logo 560x186 Zune Music coming to Australia on November 16

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that Australians will finally get access to the Zune Music Marketplace and Zune Music Pass on November 16. This is exciting news for Australian customers who have been waiting years to get their hands on music direct from Zune.

Australia’s Zune Music Pass will run subscribers $11.99 a month or $119.90 a year. It will include all of the features people have come to expect, including unlimited streaming music videos, which was introduced earlier this month as part of the service’s expansion into Canada. The aforementioned announcement also included a price drop from $14.99 to $9.99, but the conversion rate means Australian customers will be paying a bit more.

The Zune Music Marketplace has a library of “more than 11 million tracks available for purchase in MP3 format.” DRM-free tracks purchased through the service are playable on every MP3-compatible device, while Zune Pass content can be streamed to Zune devices, Windows Phone, Xbox 360, the Zune PC software client, and Zune.net. The service is also accessible through Bing’s Music section.

We’re very excited to see the service start playing in yet another international market. It’s been a long time in coming, but the wait will be over in just three weeks.

[Zune Insider]




Anythingbutipod launches the CrowdGadgets newsletter

CrowdGadgets 560x136 Anythingbutipod launches the CrowdGadgets newsletter

Anythingbutipod is excited to finally launch the CrowdGadgets newsletter. Announced last week, the CrowdGadgets newsletter brings together the biggest news from around the CrowdGather Gadget Network, including Anythingbutiphone, Anythingbutipod, Good and EVO, Nothing But Tablets, Pocketables, and StreakSmart. It’s a great way to catch up on last week’s news in a digest format.

New issues are delivered straight to subscribers’ email inboxes every Monday, and it perfectly coordinates with the weekly CrowdGadgets podcast which is regularly released on the same day. We encourage those interested to sign up for the free newsletter on our website, CrowdGadgets.com.

Subscribers will also have a chance to win cool prizes. Details on how–and what–you can win will revealed in the next issue of the newsletter, but we have a feeling you’ll really like what’s in store.

Thank you for continued support of Anythingbutipod. We can’t wait to hear what you think of the newsletter.




Anythingbutipod announces the CrowdGadgets newsletter

CrowdGadgets 560x136 Anythingbutipod announces the CrowdGadgets newsletter

Anythingbutipod is excited to announce the CrowdGadgets newsletter! Subscribers will be treated to weekly updates with news from around the CrowdGather Gadget Network, including AnythingbutiphoneAnythingbutipod, Good and EVO, Nothing But Tablets, Pocketables, and StreakSmart. Additional CrowdGather websites, such as Zune Boards, will be hopping on board in the near future.

The CrowdGadgets newsletter is the perfect companion to the aforementioned sites and the CrowdGadgets podcast, which was launched just a few short weeks ago. Each issue of the newsletter will be sent straight to subscriber inboxes and include a recap of the latest news from our respective sites.

The first issue of the newsletter will be sent out to subscribers on Monday, October 24, so we encourage readers to sign up today. We’ve also included a QR code after the break for convenience. Best of all, subscribers will be entered to win great prizes. Stay tuned for more details on how to win.

Thank you for continuing to support Anythingbutipod. We love our readers, and we hope you’ll subscribe to the CrowdGadgets newsletter and podcast.

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Zune refocuses on software and services

Zune HD Hardware 560x243 Zune refocuses on software and services

Microsoft finally confirmed on Monday that it is no longer manufacturing Zune devices. But despite what some might say, Zune itself is not dead. The Redmond software giant has turned its focus to the Zune software and bringing its three screens and a cloud vision to fruition. Zune powers the Music + Video experience on Windows Phone and Xbox 360, and it provides a premiere media experience on Windows PCs with the Zune software client.

“We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players. So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. Your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honor the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our very last devices. Customer service has been, and will remain a top priority for us.”

This, of course, has been Microsoft’s strategy for over a year now. Dave McLauchlan, the former Senior Business Development Manager for Zune, said as much back in March. Windows Phone provides an excellent media experience. It’s not perfect–better integration with the Zune Social would certainly be appreciated–but it’s nearly there.

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Microsoft announces new Zune Music Pass, expands to Canada

Zune logo 560x516 Microsoft announces new Zune Music Pass, expands to CanadaMicrosoft announced on Thursday that it is introducing a new Zune Music Pass, adding support for unlimited streaming Music Videos, and expanding the Zune Music Marketplace and Music Pass to Canada.

The cost of Zune Pass is dropping 33% to $9.99 per month on October 3rd, putting it in range with other music subscription services. Of course, achieving this price meant that Microsoft had to make a few changes. The new Zune Music Pass will no longer include 10 free music credits every month, and subscribers will be limited to four devices (one PC and any combination of PCs, Zune devices, and Windows Phones). Streaming on Xbox 360 and Zune.net will function as usual. Unlike Europe, US customers will have a choice to stay with their current $14.99 plan–which will no longer be available after October 3rd–or switch to the new offering.

Both versions of the Zune Pass now include free streaming access to tens of thousands of music videos as well. Zune has long offered music videos, but they were only available for purchase. This little-known feature is sure to become more widely used after this update, which will go live on October 3rd as well.

The last, and arguably the most long-awaited, piece of news is that the Zune Music Marketplace and Music Pass is rolling out in Canada on October 3rd. Canadian subscribers will have access to more than 14 million tracks at a price point of C$9.99 per month or C$99.90 per year. It, too, includes access to streaming music videos on the Zune software client and Xbox 360.

Of course, that’s not all. The last paragraph of the press release includes a teaser: more Zune news is coming. While we don’t know what it might be, we suspect it could be tied to the upcoming Xbox 360 dashboard update.

[Zune Insider]




Anythingbutipod announces the CrowdGadgets podcast

CrowdGadgets Logo Anythingbutipod announces the CrowdGadgets podcastAnythingbutipod is excited to finally announce the CrowdGadgets podcast, a weekly show committed to covering the latest news from the CrowdGather gadget network.

Each of the hosts–Brodie Duncan, Calob Horton, John Freml, Stuart Cope, and William Devereux–represent one of the sites in the CrowdGather gadget network, which is composed of Anythingbutiphone, Anythingbutipod, Good and EVO, Nothing But Tablets, Pocketables, and StreakSmart. Other guests might make occasional appearances as well.

New episodes will be released on Mondays, but CrowdGadgets already starts with a collection of seven episodes. CrowdGadgets usually has a running time of somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes, but the length varies based on the amount of news each week. A companion newsletter will also be launching soon.

Subscribe below to start listening now, or follow us online for the latest gadget news.

Subscribe: iTunes | Zune | RSS
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Dave McLauchlan founds startup for mobile developers

Dave McLauchlan 1 560x634 Dave McLauchlan founds startup for mobile developersRegulars on the ABI forums are no doubt familiar with the awesome Dave McLauchlan or, as he is known around here, ”DaveMac-MS.” Dave worked at Microsoft for over 11 years, most recently as the Senior Business Development Manager for Zune. In addition to overseeing Zune hardware, Dave made sure the Zune HD always had a constant stream of high-quality apps. He’s always been very active in our forums, graciously interacting with the community and providing news and insights into Microsoft whenever possible.

On September 6, Dave announced that he was leaving Microsoft to found a startup company, Buddy, with fellow former Microsoft employee Jeff MacDuff. The two officially launched the company on Thursday, providing a great cloud-based solution for mobile developers. Buddy allows developers to quickly and easily integrate such services as geo-location, user accounts, meta data for users and applications, messaging, and much more into their apps.

Buddy provides a great service, and we wish Dave and his business partner the best of luck with their new company. Dave will continue to participate here on ABI as his “time and interests allow.” He’s always welcome here.

For more information about Buddy, head on over to the Buddy website or read more on our sister site, Anythingbutiphone.




Microsoft changes the Zune Music Pass in Europe, video remains unaffected

Zune Music Pass in Europe Change Microsoft changes the Zune Music Pass in Europe, video remains unaffected

Microsoft has announced that it is decreasing the number of licensed Zune Music Pass devices for customers Europe. The announcement was made in an email to European subscribers on Tuesday, informing them of the change.

The current Zune Music Pass offering allows customers to license up to three PCs and three mobile devices–be it Zune or Windows Phone–for all-you-can-eat music streaming. But starting September 13, 2011, subscribers will only be allowed to license one PC and a combination of any three PCs or devices.

Microsoft has yet to provide an official reason for this change, but we suspect that it’s due to deals with music labels. The Zune Music Pass has been around for almost five years in the US, but it is less than a year old in Europe. Music deals vary from country to country, so it’s possible that the European publishers have demanded that Microsoft decrease the number of licensed devices.

This move is certainly more limiting, but the Zune Music Pass was originally intended for a single user or, unofficially, a family. Restricting the streaming collection to a single PC (or more, if you feel like sacrificing some of your devices) should help keep the subscription for users in the same household.

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