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After lot of speculation and betting (yes what do you think, this is Apple product?), Apple has released the new widescreen with touch capabilities (same as in iPhone) aptly named iPod Touch starting at $299.
You can view (or download) the guide tour.
Alright, you so called "my friends" living in USA; next time you land in India, you better have an iPod Touch with you as a gift for me or you are in trouble. Or is there a generous soul out there who is willing to send/gift/donate (for my music listening pleasure!) a unit; will get a lots of blessings from you.
Any company out there who maybe want to get there site designed for an iPod Touch.
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Last.fm is an interesting site. Its a part social networking, part music profiling, part discovering music. And its neat (and free too!).
Ok, here is how it works, you start by signing up and creating a unique username for yourself. Then you download plugin for your favourite music player, be it Winamp, Windows Media Player, iTunes, Yahoo Music Engine (and even more). And you are done! (Well atleast your part is done.)
What now ?
So whenever you listen to your favourite song, Last.fm plugin uploads the Artist name and Song Title to its website. This starts building your music profile or as we say "whats your noise". In due time, this becomes a bit comprehensive and the system will start recommending artists, other users, books, etc that match your music taste and profile. It even recommends radio stations which are playing music to your taste.
You can also look at what others are listening categoried by artist, country, genre and tags. So if you want to find out what songs people are listening in USA or UK or India, you can! You can also find out which are the favourite songs of the legends like Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Jagjit Singh or Lata Mangeshkar.
So, get start now! And don't forget to look at what I listen to ... and do recommend some of what you are listening too!
Microsoft's MSN Music (currently in beta) will compete with the Apple's iTunes store.
At first glance site seems to be slick (enough) to compete with iTunes atleast in presentation. Pricing for a song and album also seems to be equivalent to iTunes.
The surprise is that Microsoft has been a bit generous in terms of rights ... "MSN Music allows you to play your music on up to five Windows PCs, burn play lists to CD up to seven times, and transfer to an unlimited number of portable audio devices."
Microsoft seems to getting ready for opening another front in its domainance, but a crucial piece the Windows Media Player 10 is still in beta and is expected to be released shortly. (If you believe some rumors, within this week)
If you look beneath the surface and analyse the situation, the online music business has margins of few pennies (or less) per song. Then why is Microsoft doing this ? A well calculated guess is that wants to ward of the influence of iPod and iTunes on the windows community. Apple has made an indirect dent into the windows community with the iPod+iTunes combination. And this is what worries Microsoft. If had it been left unchecked, it would have became very dangerous for its core business of providing OS and Office suites, which is already facing a stiff competition from the Linux and its variants like Linspire (formely Lindows) and OpenOffice, StarOffice.
Another goal that Mircrosft would achieve from this is that, it would be strengthen its foundation in the digital content creation and distribution. Its previous attempt at digital content creation (with digital rights management) in the form of eBook Reader was lukewarm. Gaining valuable experience from the MSN music, the natual direction would be extend the store for more digital content namely Video and integrate its other efforts with it. And Windows Media Player would be used more than just a player view trailers off the web and old video CDs, but a true Media player.
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Amit Arora is web developer with expertise in developing eCommerce enabled websites for the businesses.