The landlocked European country of Austria and the Chinese island megacity of Hong Kong don't have a lot in common, but this morning (or this afternoon, depending on where you are) they can come together and bond over cheap Google streaming gadgets. The Chromecast just launched on the respective Play Stores in both territories, making it easy to get a hold of one without importing it or bribing your American buddies.
If you've been patiently waiting for carrier billing to come to your cell carrier, today might be your lucky day. Customers of Starhub in Singapore and A1 in Austria should now be able to charge app and content purchases from the the Play Store directly to their cellular accounts. A1 is the first carrier in Austria to support the feature, and Starhub is the second in Singapore.
Google's steadily rolling out Google Play gift card availability to various countries around the globe. We previously reported that Austria, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland had all made the 'coming soon' list. Now all four have bumped to officially being available now. Not only can consumers find cards in local retailers, each country has its own gift card site. Here's Spain's below.
In every country except Switzerland, the gift cards are available in increments of 15 €, 25 €, and 50 €.
A few days ago we caught wind of the existence of Google Play gift cards in Austria. It was good news, though it came as a surprise as Austria's name was nowhere to be found on the list of countries Google sells gift cards in. Now it is, though oddly still listed as 'coming soon.' Nevertheless, Austria isn't the only country to make an appearance. Now we see that Italy, Mexico, and Switzerland have joined the list as well (with Spain also still listed as being on its way).
Our Austrian friends might be in for a surprise the next time they stroll into a local retailer. Google Play gift cards are now live in Austria with no official announcement. The Google support page hasn't even been updated to list Austria yet. That's cool and all, but how about a little heads up next time, Google?
Google quietly brought Play Books today to four new countries: Austria, Belgium, Ireland, and Portugal. The aforementioned countries only had access to Google Play Apps and Music before, so I'm sure the book lovers among those of you who reside in the four territories are ecstatic.
The new Books section as seen in Ireland
Google has been very slow to roll out various content stores worldwide. The last time Play Books expanded was all the way back in March and only included one country - Mexico.
The floodgates seem be open, folks - the Jelly Bean updates for the Galaxy S III are now rolling out all over Europe. Last month, Samsung shared Android 4.1.1 with Polish users, took a break to fix some bugs, and restarted the process two days ago in Sweden. As of today, the list of countries has expanded quite a bit - France, Spain, Romania, and Austria. All signs point to a much wider rollout, and I wouldn't be surprised if even more territories and carriers show up within the next 48 hours.