As someone who was impressed by a 32MB Compact Flash card for my HP PDA 15 years ago, the growth of high-speed, high-capacity, ultra-compact storage continues to astound me, and at MWC 2015 that trend continues. Sandisk has introduced a number of products, the most visible of which is the 200GB SanDisk Ultra® microSDXC™, expanding on last year’s 128GB platform.
While wearables and high-fashion smartwatches are dominating the news lately, we all need smartphones to power these devices, and many people can’t afford the price of the top-end Apple or Samsung or LG devices. So at MWC this year LG has announced three mid-range smartphones, each of which has great features and a solid design!
You can’t say HTC doesn’t listen to their critics. Every year their HTC One series has shown improvement and polish, and the new One M9 addresses many of the issues from the M8 and expands on what it does best: namely, there’s an improved camera and even better speakers!
As expected, today at MWC Samsung announced the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Judie has had a chance to check them out and was very impressed with the build quality. Some of the features are sure to generate controversy, such as non-replaceable batteries and memory, but the devices also feature the best evolving Samsung technology!
Last week Judie reviewed the Dell XPS 13, touting the reduced size and enhanced performance. Now HP is introducing the Spectre x360, which has a 13.3″ screen in an ultra-compact housing that features a fully rotating hinge so you can use the x360 as a tablet, tablet-on-stand and as as high performance ultrabook at a great price!
2015 promises to be a great year for wearable technology, with the Apple watch and Android wear coming out with great looking functional connected technology. One of the cool looking upcoming devices is the LG Watch Urbane, with a sapphire crystal, elements of Android and WebOS integrated and a feature set to make it something to get excited about!
The recent #TheDress sensation has created a common thread (and a viral one) among worldwide citizens by posing an intriguing question – How can so many people view the same object in different ways? Color theorists everywhere debate is it black and blue?…or gold and white? …or brown and blue?!? First, the subject of this whole phenomenon is based on a photo, not a video, so there are immediate questions…
One thing I love about using IK Multimedia gear is how it enhances my ability to make music anywhere by drawing power from the 30-pin or Lightning port of my iPhone or iPad. The obvious problem is the power used by an accessory such as iRig Keys Pro comes from your phone, lowering already precious battery life. Enter iRig PowerBridge.
2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Peavey, a company known for high quality amplifiers at affordable prices. They also make much-loved basses and guitars (the T40 and T60 were popular when I was in high school, and I still a T20 fretless bass), as well as sound reinforcement equipment and other products, but amplifiers have always been their focus.
Late in 2013 Zivix announced PUC, wireless MIDI interface that allowed use of traditional music gear with iOS devices. The original PUC created a local WiFi network to handle the MIDI interface, now they’re back with PUC+ using Bluetooth Low Energy to more efficiently communicate while allowing simultaneous WiFi connections. They also announced jamstik+, bringing BTLE to their smart guitar!
After not subscribing for a while, my family has been thoroughly enjoying a renewed Spotify subscription these last few months. The constant stream of improvements since they first launched has made the service more valuable than ever. Now they have introduced a new feature – Touch Preview – that lets you quickly check out new songs without leaving your playlist.
Dan and Judie wrote about how the iRig Mic Field from IK Multimedia helped them cover NAIAS in Detroit as well as CES, and it illustrated another step in how far IK has evolved in their microphone offerings. Now IK Multimedia is announcing their next step with the iRig Mic Studio, an ultra-portable large-diaphragm mic for every platform.
Brian Fargo and inXile Entertainment had a great 2014 with the release of Wasteland 2. Now they are returning to the property that inspired their first game a decade ago, as they have announced officially that they are working on The Bard’s Tale IV. The last official entry in the series was all the way back in 1988!
I have already noted that IK Multimedia hinted at their full-on onslaught of Android music-making at NAMM, and they are delivering. They announced one of the key items this week – iRig UA, allowing users of nearly any Android device to plug in their guitar and make awesome music using a compatible app. Time for Android users to rock out!
While it seems like vintage gear, trendy tablet interfaces and more fringe stuff are dominating the news out of NAMM this year, a number of traditional music makers are also introducing the ‘boring’ stuff – great sounding gear with awesome features. One of those is Orange, who has announced the Orange OB1 series of rack-mountable bass amplifiers.
This year at NAMM 2015 we have seen the rebirth of the classic synthesizer brands Sequential Circuits and ARP, leaving only one brand remaining. So naturally Moog has come back as well, and they introduced redesigned versions of their absolute classic modular synthesizers the System 15, 35 and 55. These dynamic instruments are all about creativity.
Wow … just wow. Yesterday we heard about the resurrected ARP Odyssey from Korg, and today Dave Smith Instruments has brought back the venerable Sequential Circuits brand name to announce their new Prophet 6 analog synthesizer! Dave Smith is founder of Sequential Circuits and the legendary Prophet V, so he is well positioned to deliver the goods with Prophet 6!
This week at NAMM, legendary amplifier company introduced a bunch of great new stuff, including a surprise item – the Orange MusicBoard Interactive Whiteboard. Anyone with kids in school knows about electronic whiteboards, which allow you to project interactive content from a computer onto a screen. The MusicBoard seeks to revolutionize how music theory is taught to students!
I remember getting the chance to play with an ARP Odyssey in junior high, back in the mid-1970s – it was an awesome piece of music-making hardware! Released in 1972 to compete with the MiniMoog, the Odyssey was responsible for many of the classic synth sounds of the 1970s, and now Korg has announced the Korg ARP Odyssey Analog Synthesizer!
This weekend in football, we have conference championships that will decide who goes to the Super Bowl. These are all popular teams – New England, Indianapolis, Seattle and Green Bay – so you can be sure there’ll be plenty of gatherings either at bars or in people’s homes. If you’re planning a party – the Homegating app has you covered!
There was so much to see and do at the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week. Press days precede the official opening of the show to the public which runs Jan. 17-25 this year. Automakers from around the globe bring their newest production cars, trucks, SUVs, CUVs, EVs and just about every other V(ehicle) in their arsenal.