Last month Google introduced its $100 Nest Audio smart speaker and Amazon introduced a whole bunch of new Echo smart speakers. Today it was Apple’s turn.
Two and a half years after the company released the original HomePod speaker with Siri support, the company has unveiled the HomePod mini which is smaller, cheaper, and serves as a smart home hub, among other things.
But while companies seem to be banking on audio as the hot thing in user interaction these days, they’re also putting most of their eggs in the streaming basket. Google is in the process of transitioning users from its Google Play music streaming service to the newer YouTube Music service… and as part of that transition, the company has closed its Google Play MP3 music store.
You can no longer buy DRM-free songs and download them to your device. MP3 stores aren’t dead just yet – Amazon still sells MP3s, as do indie stores like Bandcamp. But is buying music that you can keep a dying art? Or have music lovers who prefer owning their music to streaming just moving to vinyl or… cassette tapes?
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- The Music Store on Google Play is no longer available [Google Play]
The Google Play Music Store is dead, which means you can no longer buy and download MP3s from Google since the company is transitioning to the YouTube Music streaming service. Good news is MP3s are DRM-free, so you can still play your files in other apps.
- Microsoft Surface Laptop Go and Surface Pro X (2nd-gen) now available [Microsoft]
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go and 2nd-gen Surface Pro X tablet are now available for starting prices of $550 and $800, respectively. Just keep in mind that the starting price for the Surface Laptop Go only gets you 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. To get a version with decent specs you have spend closer to $900… and at that point you might as well buy a better laptop from another company.
- Open Letter to Apache OpenOffice [LibreOffice/The Document Foundation]]
The Document Foundation pens an open letter to Apache OpenOffice (the office suite it forked from a decade ago), asking for help directing new users to LibreOffice which is continually updated (while the last major http://OpenOffice.org release came in 2014).
- Plasma 5.20 New and improved inside and out [KDE]
KDE has released Plasma 5.20, and the latest version of the desktop environment for open source operating systems includes a redesigned task manager, system tray, and on-screen displays. Notifications, shortcuts & System Settings have also been updated.
- Samsung Introduces PRO Plus and EVO Plus SD Cards for Content Creators and Photo Enthusiasts [Samsung]
Samsung launches Pro Plus and EVO Plus SD cards with read/write speeds up to 100MB/S and 90MB/s respectively and capacities ranging from 32GB to 256GB. They’re up for pre-order today, ship next week, and sell for $7 and up.
- OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei leaves the company [TechCrunch]
Rumor has it that he’s starting a new company, but details are scarce at the moment.
- Sailfish OS 3.4 released [LinuxSmartphones]
The latest version of the Linux-based smartphone OS brings an updated browser agent, improved email features, support for multiple users on a single device, automatic scheduled data backups, and more.
- HomePod Mini [Apple]
HomePod Mini costs $99, comes in white or black, and goes up for pre-order Nov 6th. It ships Nov 16th. It supports whole-home audio, interacts with iPhones using a U1 chip, and will launch with Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn support, with Pandora and Amazon Music coming later this year. There’s no mention of Spotify though. The smart speaker also works as a smart home hub.
HomePod Mini costs $99, comes in white or black, and goes up for pre-order Nov 6th. It ships Nov 16th. pic.twitter.com/SeuYvvs4gN
— Liliputing (@liliputingnews) October 13, 2020
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