You've probably heard of TuneIn. It's that app that some kids these days think of as the radio (not to be confused with the static that old people are still able to get their cars to produce). TuneIn lets you stream stations from all over the world, regardless of how far outside of their coverage area you may be.
Now the company is rolling out TuneIn Premium for $7.99 a month. For your money, you get access to over 40,000 audiobooks. You know, because paying for novels individually has apparently become old-school.
TuneIn Premium also comes with over 600 commercial-free music stations. Read More
Amazon's HAL 9000-style voice controlled gadget thing, the Echo, (yes, that's the best way to describe it in a single sentence) is gaining more capabilities with each software update. If you can get over the creepy implications of that, it's amazingly cool. The latest update adds the capability to interact with user recipes from the popular IFFT (If This, Then That) web service. At the moment it's mostly requests for music, to-do functions, and connected gadgets.
The practicality of this is dependent upon which recipes you've created or imported. The example from Amazon's promotional email is an Alexa song request that's automatically funneled through IFTTT and shared on Facebook. Read More
Avid readers on Android have some exciting new toys to look forward to in the latest version of Amazon Kindle. Update 4.8 adds some significant features to an already-packed app, specifically linked to in-book search. "X-Ray" is a proprietary system that downloads a pre-configured, collated file that includes information about the book itself, the characters, the setting, and the context of basically everything. For complex fiction, non-fiction, or textbooks, it's an amazing system previously reserved for the Kindle e-readers and tablets.
What's even more amazing is that it operates offline. Like Kindle's dictionary function, X-Ray is downloaded and stored locally. Read More
There's a surprising lack of options when it comes to Android audiobooks. Sure, there's Audible, but its metered subscription service isn't an ideal solution for a lot of people, and other services tend to be light on content. Audiobook enthusiasts now have another alternative: Barnes & Noble. NOOK (ALL CAPS) Audiobooks is available as a free download on any Android 4.0+ device, though I'm betting that only those in the US can actually buy books.
Nook Audiobooks is fairly straightforward. Search for books or browse via the featured titles on the opening page. Select one. Pay for it via a credit card (sorry, no Play Store or PayPal options here). Read More
When the time comes to shop for ebooks, Amazon's Kindle Store is one of the first online destinations that comes to mind. Likewise, Audible, a company now owned by Amazon, is an easy recommendation for audiobooks. Thus far, people who own both the ebook and audiobook versions of a novel have had to hop back and forth between mobile apps to switch between the two.
Reading a book using the Kindle app vs listening to it via Audible.
Now an update is rolling out to the Kindle Android app that should make the experiences play along more nicely. It will offer users the ability to switch between the Kindle version and the audiobook version of a book without leaving the app, assuming they own both copies. Read More
If you want to listen to an audiobook, Audible is the number one source. Though, the app was never great on Android. It wasn't terrible, but it didn't have a strong Android aesthetic and the layout was strange. With the version 1.5 update, that's a thing of the past. The app looks excellent now, and there are other improvements too.