Jukebox: Offline Dropbox Music Player

Rummaging around on Product Hunt, I stumbled upon Jukebox. It’s an iOS app that enables you to download music saved to Dropbox and listen via a sleekly designed player.

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There’s a couple of cool things to note here: first how simple the UI is.

It’s very Spotify-esque in look and feel, which means it is instantly accessible to folks who like streaming.

Secondly this could be a very neat way for music bloggers to stay on top of all the tracks they get sent.

Dropbox and Soundcloud are the de facto choice for receiving tracks to review so any app or tool that can make that interaction simpler is going to be welcomed.

Additionally, James Zhang, one of the folks behind the app said in response to a comment:

…we’re actually working on adding a private sharing feature so that you can share a song with a friend through a text link and they can stream to preview the song or download it straight to their own Jukebox.

This would be a great piece of functionality to incorporate as it will make music-sharing that little bit easier.

I urge you to download it on iOS and see for yourself!

Smartphones rule, ok?

UK telecomms regulator Ofcom have released a study of smartphone usage in the UK.

Mashable have pulled out some of the key findings of what is one of the most in-depth pieces of consumption research yet:

– 37% of adults and 60% of teens admit they are highly addicted to their smartphones.

– 81% of smartphone users make calls every day compared with 53% of regular users.

– 23% of teenagers claim to watch less TV and 15% admit they read fewer books as a result of their smartphone use.

– 51% of adults and 65% of teens say they have used their smartphone while socializing with others.

– 23% of adults and 34% of teens have used their smartphones during mealtimes.

– 22% of adult and 47% of teens admitted using or answering their smartphone while in the bathroom.

– 58% of adult males owned a smartphone compared with 42% of females.
Among teenagers, 52% of females use smartphones compared with 48% of males.

– The majority of adults (32%) identified Apple’s iPhone as their favorite device, while the majority of teens (37%) prefer the BlackBerry.

What do you make of the findings, do they resonate with you?

WiFi leads growth in mobile TV, says study

Juniper Research today published a report, Tuning in to Mobile TV which suggests that by increasing the availability of free WiFi, it would boost mobile TV industry revenues to about $7 billion by 2015.

The report reckons that:

…mobile TV traffic over WiFi is expected to increase by 25x over the 2010-2015 period as streamed service penetration and usage levels – also fuelled by consumer smartphone adoption – rise sharply. However, the report notes that despite the capacity relief that WiFi offers to cellular networks, greater mobile TV usage will still place the 3G and 3.5G networks under stress.

What is of interest to me is whether we’ll really want to consume TV content on mobile/handheld devices which, by their nature, have small screens, when there is an obvious desire from gadget buyers to get something a little bit bigger (call it an iPad).

Whether it’s being beamed directly to your handset, or your streaming it over the Internet to your beloved piece of smartphone technology, TV will use a heck of a lot of bandwidth. The report suggests that new technologies being trialled by the likes of Vodafone and o2 may solve this particular issue however.

But is it really necessary? Do I really want to watch Eastenders on my mobile on the tube? Possibly. Do I think it’ll catch on?

No.

The main reason for my scepticism is that although mobile screens are getting better all the time, they just don’t have the size to provide you with the full TV watching experience – if you’re going to invest 30 minutes of your life to watch a sitcom, as opposed to a 3 minute YouTube clip, it’s got to be worthwhile.

Squinting to see Dot Cotton’s face on a three by four inch screen somehow just doesn’t appeal…

What do you think?

Stuff I’ve Shared on Twitter 27.09.09

I thought it might be useful to keep track of some of the cool things I’ve shared on Twitter each week and re-share them on a Sunday. If you’re anything like me, Sunday is the perfect day to take time over reading new blogs and interesting articles you just don’t get the time to during the week. So, without further a do…

Debate: Can You Still Build a Profitable Blog?
New Labour: from spin to social?
The Wisdom of the Crowds?
Enough Already About Charging For Content: How To Make The Free Model Work
Why the Lily Allen Story is Important
Social media is key to attracting graduate marketers
Five innovations in news journalism, thanks to the web
Stop the PR pitch madness
No Locks No Gates
Proof! Mobile microbloggers are boring…

4 Quick Fire Questions: Stuart Dredge

Stuart Dredge is a fountain of mobile, music and technology knowledge. Writing for the likes of Pocket Picks, Pocket Gamer (.biz &.co.uk) and music Industry bible Music Ally, Stuart knows his stuff.

When Stuart agreed to have some questions thrown at him I was delighted and I’d like to thank him for taking the time put put finger on key to come up with some really compelling answers.

Why do you think we’ve not seen a successful mobile dedicated social network yet, and is the Vufone a possible answer to this?

I think there have been some, picking up hundreds of thousands or even millions of users. I wrote a feature on mobile social networking last year, and was genuinely surprised at how popular a lot of the mobile-only social networks were. Especially in countries with low PC/internet penetration, mobile is the logical platform for social networking, so it’s only a matter of time.

But from a personal viewpoint, I don’t really want to sign up to a mobile-only social network. The social network my friends and colleagues are on is Facebook, so that’s the social network I want to access from my phone. In that sense, I’m more interested in how Facebook is adding mobile-specific features to its apps. But as I said, that’s just my personal view – there are mobile-only social networks out there doing well.

Sorry, Vufone is a new one to me! Having looked at its website, I like the fact that it’s about connecting you to your existing social networks and social media sites, rather than trying to herd you into a new mobile-only one.

Who would you say is leading the way in social mobile gaming, and will this genre of title be the ‘next big thing’?

In terms of platforms, iPhone is where all the exciting social gaming stuff is being done right now, and the new features in the upcoming iPhone 3.0 software will build on that, with micro-transactions and downloadable content.

But in terms of the people doing it, I think the leaders have been the social web games firms – Playfish, Zynga, SGN and so on – companies who’ve been helping to define the early days of social gaming on Facebook, and have brought their ideas, technologies and business models to iPhone. They’ve spent the last 12-18 months figuring out how people play socially, so have plenty of learnings to build on.

Other companies are catching on too, though. There’s a UK developer called Distinctive Developments which has made a game called Anytime Pool that works across Facebook, iPhone and mobile, an Australian developer called Firemint that’s got a technology for racing game players to upload video replays of their best laps to YouTube, and a US publisher called ngmoco that’s putting Twitter shouts into its games so you can brag about your scores.

These kinds of social features are going to become much more common, and hopefully on other mobile platforms besides iPhone too.

What do we need to see happen for social networking on-handset to become as common place as it is off-handset?

Flat-rate (or at least more transparent) data tariffs is crucial – it’s fairly clear that if people don’t know how much they’re charged to do something on their phone, they won’t do it. Since I got an unlimited data contract, I just don’t think about those issues any more.

The rollout of more app stores will help too, so people can download social networking apps and have an icon sitting on their phone, rather than have to use WAP (although going back to those emerging markets, social networking based on WAP or SMS will probably be more important there).

And lastly, I think handset makers and operators realise that social networking is a big selling point for phones now – there’s even handsets like the INQ1 where it’s THE selling point. Meanwhile Nokia’s big new thing is social location, which includes making it easy for you to connect to all your social networks the first time you fire a handset up. That’ll have a big impact too, I think – increasingly when you buy a new phone, it’ll prompt you to access your social networks.

What do you expect will be the next major technological development to affect mobile gaming and the way we interact with handsets?

Mobile gaming? Rather than a new technological development, I think the big thing is that all the cool technological developments that have been theoretically possible but horribly painful/complex/expensive to do in recent years will become more doable. So games developers will be able to get their teeth into connectivity, social features, location, camera integration, social features, episodic/downloadable content and so on. And actually make money from them!

Another big trend is that mobile gaming is getting its own identity. Some people are still trying to shoehorn console games into handsets, of course, but plenty more developers have a clear idea of how to use the unique aspects of these devices. They’re intrinsically connected, increasingly have touchscreens/accelerometers, and the gaming usage/patterns are quite different to PSP and DS (and even more so from console). It’s an exciting time to be a developer or a journalist in this area.

But lastly, I am very excited about the social aspects of mobile gaming – both in terms of fully social games, and regular games having social aspects added to them – letting you brag about your high scores on Twitter and Facebook for example.

Mobile music revenues to reach $14.6bn by 2013 says Juniper Research

Juniper Research have revealed that:

A sharp fall in ringtone revenues will be more than offset by growth in full-track downloads, streamed music services and ringback tones, according to a new report from Juniper Research which forecasts that global revenues from mobile music services will reach nearly $14.6bn by 2013.

The report goes on to say:

Much of the recent interest in full-track downloads across the industry has been stimulated by the arrival of the iPhone and its successor, the iPhone 3G

The reportcomes on the same day that Broadband Genie released a report claiming that mobile broadband users need to make the most of the current cheap (!) rates while they last.

What these claim, is that there is a growing appetite for music to be listened to on mobiles. This is something Nokia have latched onto with their comes with music offering, with the 5800 being the latest and greatest handset to have the service embedded. The deal with INgrooves demonstrates their belief that this is a worthwhile opportunity to persue, and the new research shows they may be just be right.

Where the real opportunity now lies is for a mobile carier to sign up with a music streaming service such as Spotify or We7, and give users the opportunity to download the music they’re streaming for free, for a nominal fee such as iTunes’ 79p.

Will this happen?

With the huge amount of mobile games/app piracy in Asia, and the possibility of such a service being cracked, it is doubtful. But it shows that, despite the general pessimism in the music industry surrounding the mobile download future, the threat of people getting their hands on music for free is too great for the record labels to risk.