Last week we talked a little about how to set up AirPlay so you can use it to play music or mirror your Mac. It’s great wireless tech that can work in a home or an office, but still has some limitations, especially if you’re not a full-on Mac and iOS user. Here are three apps that will extend AirPlay for Windows, Android, and even Mac users.
This one is for Android users. AirBubble is a free Android app that lives on your phone, but talks to AirPlay source devices so it can act as a receiver and stream music to your phone. Great if you use iTunes but are an Android user. Find AirBubble in the Google Play store.
AirFoil may be the most versatile 3rd party streaming app out there. It costs $30, but it can send audio from any music player (not just iTunes) and can even use apps running on your computer or phone, like Spotify. Multiple users can access the same network, so it’s a great way to set up a collaborative music system in an office that lets everyone take a turn playing DJ. Available for Windows and PC, AirFoil lets you stream from a computer directly to other computers, AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, iPhones and iPods Touch. Most devices will need to have software enabled to act as receivers: check out the the full list of compatible devices and software needed here. Available from Rogue Amoeba.
We hear a lot about Apple AirPlay, but it’s a fairly new technology, and still fairly confusing. So what, exactly, is AirPlay? Basically, it is a way to use a home network to be able link up Apple devices to each other, so you can access media across devices, even if it’s not stored on that device locally. That means you don’t have to keep copies of everything on every device – you can stream from one device to another.
AirPlay works over your wireless, so all of your devices must be connected via the same wireless network or over Bluetooth (though this a battery drain, and wireless is probably a better choice for most uses). You can use an Apple Airport (Apple’s wireless router), but it’s not necessary. Any wireless router will work, as long as all your devices can connect to it.
AirPlay-enabled devices should be able to recognize each other, which takes the guesswork out of which devices can stream to where. AirPlay is available on devices running iOS 4.3 or later, though not all features are available on all devices. Here’s a handy chart from Apple about the minimum requirements for each device. Generally though, you can use at least some features of AirPlay with the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, the iPad 2, 3 and 4, Airport Express, and Apple TV 2nd Generation and 3rd Generation, and any computer running iTunes 10.3 or higher.
The capabilities of each device also depend on whether you’re streaming “to” or “from” that device. One key point: you can’t use AirPlay between mobile devices (your iPad to iPhone, for example). iPhones, iPads and computers are senders only. Receivers are AirPort Express and Apple TV.
Sometimes the tech news headlines come out of left field! Cricket is not only going to be offering the current, top-of-the-line iPhone 4S as a prepaid phone with no contract, but they are even subsidizing the price! Check this out, while a 16GB unlocked no contract iPhone 4S would cost $649.99 straight from Apple, Cricket is able to offer it for $499 without locking you into a contract! For $100 less a.k.a. only $399, you can pick up a no contract 8GB iPhone 4, which is still a killer phone.
The no-contract plans they’re offering sound pretty great as well—$55 for unlimited text/talk and data. Yes, you read that right, the $55 price point includes unlimited DATA. Now, to be fair, they will slow/limit your service past 2.3GB but for normal use that should be perfectly fine for most people provided you take advantage of WiFI when you’re home or at the office.
If you haven’t tried in-flight wireless from Gogo yet, you’re missing out. Being productive on-the-go in this age of mobile devices unfortunately means that you need Internet access everywhere if you’re going to compete. With access on a variety of top carriers (see the full list to right), chances are good that your next flight could be Gogo wireless enabled.
With in-flight access to Gogo costing anywhere from $4.95 for an hour and a half to $12.95 for 24-hour access, Gogo may seem pricey if you don’t know exactly how good the service is. That’s why we’re giving away not just one, but 5 round-trip sets of coupons, good enough for a round-trip or two flights worth of high flying Internet access. This way, you’ll be able to judge for yourself if Tweeting at 30,000 feet.
There’s a ton of ways to enter, and some options even let you get a raffle ticket every day, so enter early, enter often, and help spread the word about our contest!