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Asyncast delivers custom news to hands-free mobile devices

The company's Rocketron service allows users to set preferences for the kinds of news stories they want to hear, as well as filter controls for news they don't want.

Asyncast's Rocketron service is designed to give users custom news via mobile devices without the use of their hands. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News

SAN DIEGO--We all spend a lot of time with our hands too busy to handle and manipulate mobile devices. That, for example, is one of the reasons many states now require drivers to have hands-free headsets for making phone calls.

But what if you're riding a bike and want to get news updates without having to play with your device in order to hear what you want?

That's the premise behind Rocketron, a new service from Asyncast unveiled at DemoFall Monday.

The idea is that users can speak commands into a headset, for example, "Sports news," and the service will stream only that kind of news to them. The same goes for technology, business, political or other kinds of news.

In addition, if the user doesn't want to listen to a specific story, they can say, "next story," and Rocketron will skip to the next news item.

Even better, the system has a Web interface that allows users to set preferences for the kinds of news they want to hear. And one of the choices in that interface is a way to set filters so that they can weed out certain kinds of stories that are subsets of a major topic.

For example, if someone is interested in news about Yahoo, but doesn't want to hear stories related to the ongoing takeover rumors related to Microsoft, they can choose to filter out anything that relates to Yahoo as well as Microsoft.

This is a nice feature, especially because for many of us there are plenty of major topics we want to hear about without having to listen to every last update. That could be useful for politics junkies, or sports fans or just about anyone you can imagine.