Thurrott Daily: March 22

Thurrott Daily: March 22

A few tech tidbits from around the web.

3/22/2016 10:15:39 AM

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Microsoft throws a bone to MixRadio users

Microsoft is providing MixRadio users with “up to” 2 months of Groove Music Pass for free.

MixRadio may be ending, but Groove wants to rock your world, with 40 million songs you can play on devices big and small, plus playlists, artist radio, and more. And we’re giving MixRadio users new to Groove a double-dose of free music by adding a bonus month to our one-month free trial with your new Music Pass Subscription (Windows Phone 8x users can get their Groove on with the Xbox Music app). Sign up today and grab all the music you love. A 30-day trial plus 30 more days = 60 days of free music – and you can cancel anytime.

Microsoft offers big discounts on tons of Xbox One and 360 games

If you’re an Xbox One or Xbox 360 gamer, be sure to check out the great savings on games this week as part of the annual Xbox Spring Sale. Major Nelson has the details:

Spring Sale starts March 22 – 28 with over 150 game deals up to 40-60% off, and some deals even more than 60%. Xbox Live Gold members will save up to an additional 10% on top of the game discounts. Additionally, we’re offering Xbox One consoles at a special $299 price for a limited time.

Now is a great time to go Gold. For a limited time, Xbox One or Xbox 360 owners (who don’t have Gold) can log onto their console and upgrade to Gold for just $1 for the first month of membership to unlock the deeper discounts. Gold membership also lets you play online with friends on the most advanced multiplayer network, and gives members up to $700 in free Games with Gold titles every year.

Check out his post for the complete list.

Vizio P-Series is the First Google Cast-compatible TV

Last year, Google began quietly extending its Chromecast product line with a technology it now calls Google Cast, devices like speakers, Android TVs, game consoles and set-up boxes that provide Chromecast-like functionality. Today, the firm announced the first lineup of (non-AndroidTV-based) TVs to use this technology, the Vizio P-series. And it is renaming Chromecast (the app) to Google Cast.

The P-series now comes with Google Cast built in, which means you can use your smartphone or tablet as your remote to cast your favorite entertainment directly to the big screen. Simply tap the Cast button from apps like Netflix to watch Daredevil, YouTube to stream daredevil stunts, or Google Play Music to get pumped for your own stunts. You can also mirror any website from the Chrome browser on your laptop. So whether you’re planning your next vacation and looking through flights and hotels with the family, or want to share a video from your last epic trip, just look for the Google Cast extension in the corner of your desktop browser.

The P-Series also supports casting Ultra HD (up to 4K) and Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range content (bright, clear colors!). Included with every P-series is VIZIO’s 6” Android tablet remote, a tablet that lives in the living room and can cast all your favorite content.

We’re also changing the name of the Chromecast app to Google Cast app, to better reflect that Google Cast technology is now supported across a wide range of devices such as Chromecast, TVs, displays and speakers. The Google Cast app makes it easy for you to discover great stuff to watch, find more apps, customize backdrop, and more. The updated Google Cast app will be rolling out this week on Android & iOS.

These TVs look very nice.

Some interesting details about iPhone and iPad sales

As Re/code points out, Apple provided some interesting information about iPhone and iPad sales during yesterday’s presentation

Apple executive Greg Joswiak noted that Apple sold more than 30 million iPhones with four-inch screens in 2015 — iPhone 5s and 5c devices, which both debuted in 2013.

30 million would represent about 13 percent of the 231.5 million total iPhones sold by Apple in 2015.

So iPhone 6/6S/6 Plus/6S Plus sales were the vast majority of those sales, at about 200 million units. In other words, people overwhelming prefer the bigger phones. But … the only possibility for growth, now that the market is saturated, is the low-end/mid-range, especially in emerging markets.

Apple has sold more than 200 million 9.7-inch iPads … Through 2015, Apple had sold more than 308 million iPads, and it has potentially shipped around 10 million more this quarter.

200 million standard-sized, 9.7-inch iPads represents about two-thirds of all iPads sold since the tablet’s debut in 2010. This also suggests the smaller, cheaper iPad mini has represented about one-third of iPads sold all-time.

The iPad mini joined the lineup in late 2012 [so] the mini has likely represented around half of iPad sales since its launch.

Interesting stuff, given that Apple never breaks down sales like this.

Spotify reaches 30 million paid subscribers

Spotify, arguably the best music-streaming service out there, reached a new milestone this week: It now has over 30 million paid subscribers. Via David Ek on Twitter:

We have 30 million @Spotify subscribers, but none of them are in Cuba … yet. So cool to see Cuba opening up!

The previous figure was 20 million in June 2015.

To put this in perspective, Spotify has added as many paying customers as has Apple Music during the time period in which Apple Music launched. So Apple has not stunted Spotify’s growth.

R.I.P. Andy Grove

Former Intel CEO Andy Grove has passed away at the age of 79. From the WSJ:

Andrew S. Grove, the Holocaust survivor who turned Intel Corp. into one of high tech’s most influential trendsetters, died at the age of 79.

No cause of death was immediately disclosed. Mr. Grove, who successfully fought a well-publicized battle against prostate cancer, had suffered from Parkinson’s disease in recent years.

The Hungarian-born executive, Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1997, helped Intel weather a wrenching transition in the 1980s from supplying memory chips—a commodity product facing tough competition from Asia—into the dominant maker of microprocessors that serve as the calculating engines for most computers. Along the way, Mr. Grove helped turn Intel into one of the few consumer brands to emerge from the semiconductor industry.

He was one of the greats.

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