A $300,000 speaker?

Yes, you can buy speakers for $300,000. If you’re curious about how any speakers could be that expensive, check out the video above.


Ford’s Looking to Make Driving Music Social With “Just Play”

Living in New York, I’ve made the increasingly necessary decision to never, ever own a car while in the city. As such I rely on walking and public transportation to get around. It’s certainly an ok option, but I miss driving around on a quiet night with some good friends and just listening to music. While an iPod is nice to have during my commute, there is no music listening experience (outside of a good concert of course) that can recreate how much fun it is to listen to music in the car.

Well unfortunately for lowly pedestrians like me, Ford is now looking to make that experience even better. They call the feature “Just Play” and it was created during the 24 hour “hackathon” at the Facebook campus. Just Play works with Ford’s voice activated Sync feature, and allows you to connect with your smartphone and Facebook app to share music with your friends. So whatever they are listening to, you can listen to as well and vice versa. Ford themselves acknowledge that it’s a “simple idea”, but there is some potential for this to incorporate other applications like Spotify and Pandora to create a driving music community experience that hasn’t really been around since the hey-day of rock on the radio.

Plus it just sound like fun.


Pandora audience keeps growing

We’ve seen Pandora set up partnerships with many of the auto OEMs, so this recent news on the growth of Pandora isn’t surprising.

His baby, the Pandora personalized online radio service, has more than 125 million registered users, a huge jump from 75 million at the same time last year. Pandora has expanded its reach into the car, with 16 alliances — including new ones with Kia and Acura — compared with four car companies this time last year.

Monthly listening, on average per user, is now at 18 hours, and shares of its stock are up 21% this year.

Coming off a successful $2.6 billion IPO in 2011, Pandora founder Westergren says the company is at the “tipping point” of expanding beyond the early adopters into a service that he says will one day be utilized by billions of consumers.

Once they can expand beyond the US, expect growth to accelerate.


CES kicks off

The biggest technology and gadget show, CES, just kicked off in Las Vegas, and as usual much of the talk surrounds Apple:

Apple is the only company that consistently gets big buzz out of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — without even attending.

This year will be no different.

Connected TVs — TVs that connect to and can access content from the Internet — will be a big part of CES this year. And just about everyone in tech expects Apple at some point to launch such a television — an iTV — that easily consumes and shares with other Apple devices content served from the company’s media-storing iCloud.

Microsoft made news earlier by saying this was the last year they would attend CES/ Why attend if Apple gets all the buzz anyways? Maybe Microsoft should focus on new products instead of protecting its Windows/Office cash cow? Or maybe not . . .


App explosion and parental controls

News stories are reporting what we all expected. With all the smartphones and tablet computers sold over the holidays, consumers are downloading apps like crazy. This is true of people of all ages, as there’s now an app for almost everything.

This does, however, raise a host of issues for parents. It’s alright for mom to go on Facebook and Twitter or play free bingo. For example, there are free apps out there so that anyone can text phone numbers. So think about young kids. Many parents don’t want to purchase a phone, let alone a smartphone, for them until they reach a certain age.

But now with something like an iPod Touch, kids have access to so many things. They can use an app to start texting. Just imagine how many problems that can cause. They can open a Facebook account. They can play all sorts of games. They can access web sites.

Monitoring Internet access is going to get exponentially more difficult, so it’s imperative for parent to educate themselves. It’s not enough now to just have the family computer in the kitchen where parents can see it. With tablets and iPods kids can use them anywhere.

So if you haven’t done so already, go check on what your kids are doing with those new devices.