I make no bones of the fact that Amazon's MP3 service is my favored music playback option on Android, and the service just got a big update to compete with its primary rival - Google Music. The general changelog is here, but it's a little difficult to parse, so I'll give you the gist.
In the world of digital music stores that aren't iTunes, Amazon is a crowd favorite. With DRM-free downloads of widely-compatible MP3s and a cloud storage player that isn't the worst in the world, it's hard to not enjoy the utility of Amazon's music service. If that's not enough, though, how about some free stuff? Amazon is currently offering $3 worth of free music to anyone who asks. As long as you ask before midnight (PST), that is.
Similar to Amazon's recent Kindle Fire deal, the company is offering a voucher that can be used to purchase music between now and July 12th.
Google Music is old hat. Sorry, guys - it's true. Streaming? Amazon's Cloud Player and iTunes iCloud both have it. Locker storage? Amazon gives you a decent amount, too - and they might even increase it if they feel Google Music is one-upping them. Purchase options? Apple and Amazon both have more music you can purchase digitally, including titles from Warner Music Group (which Google Music does not have), where many major contemporary artists are signed.
Basically, Google did what it had to with Music: it kept up with the competition. Not having streaming, cloud storage, or a major storefront would make Google Music look like a joke next to iTunes with iCloud or Amazon MP3, and this is probably why Google waited so long after the launch of the "Beta" to unveil Music in a more public way.
Update: The Music section of the Market is now live! (Link). Access to Music in the Android Market (on-device) will be rolling out over the next few days on the server side (there is no new version of the Market to get the Music section). A new version of the Music app is out as well, check it out here.
Update 2: Here's the full video of the Google Music event held in Los Angeles today (if the embedded timecode doesn't work, skip to 29m30s for the start of the event):
Just minutes ago, Google announced the launch of the long-awaited Google Music storefront.
It seems that invitees to Google's big not-yet-officially-about-Google-Music-event have just received a second invitation - to the after party. Oh, and Maroon 5, Busta Rhymes, Dirty South, R3hab, and Drake will all be in attendance - and so will we. We'll be watching the earlier event via livestream along with most everyone else (space is apparently very limited), but Android Police will present for the post-event-event Wednesday night, below. We're excited.
But as awesome as the event's headliners are, we're still more interested in what it is Google and T-Mobile are launching that warrants such a high-profile promotion.
Now, we don't have any inside information regarding what's going to be going down on Wednesday in Los Angeles, but I think I might have a pretty good idea - so, humor me for a minute.
Google's Music service has been an incomplete experience since its unveiling at Google I/O back in May. While Music Beta does allow you to upload your songs and stream them to your Android device, it lacks any kind of storefront. Google does have a small library of featured free tunes for Music users, but I can't say any of the albums or artists there have ever really interested me too much.
A quick note on the "rumor" status of this post before we actually discuss it - Business Insider was contacted by a music industry insider regarding Google's deal with various labels, and it sounds legit to us.
Motorola's press conference is under way, but it turns out the Droid RAZR isn't the only thing that Motorola had up their sleeve - they also announced the MOTOACTV, what is essentially an iPod Nano on serious steroids.
The ACTV packs a 600MHz CPU, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM Radio, and an "Audio Coach" - all there to help you step up your fitness game. The features all work together to keep track of your heart rate, calories burned, and route taken (among others). They take things even further by having all this data automatically synced to your PC and MOTOACTV.com to keep track of progress and compare it to plans/goals, analyze workouts, and challenge friends.
UPDATE: ...and it's gone. Did anyone successfully place an order before Amazon pulled the listing?
If you're the type that would rather have a dedicated MP3 player instead of using your phone for such a task, but still want to show your love and support for Android, then you'll be glad to know that the Samsung Galaxy Player 4 is now officially on sale at Amazon for $229.
This 4 inch iPod Touch competitor features a 1GHz processor, 8GB of internal storage with SD card slot (expandable up to 32GB), 3.2 MP rear camera, VGA front camera, Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth, and Android 2.2 with Market access.
When Amazon Cloud Player hit the scene, my exact words were "Google Music who?" and now that Google Music Beta invites are starting to rollout to the masses, I can aptly answer that question.
I've used Amazon Cloud Player as the primary music player on my Android phone since its inception at the end of March, so I've become quite familiar with how it works. The service has its pros and cons (like any service, I suppose), but overall I am a big fan. Now that I have had a day or so to play with Google Music, though, I thought it would be appropriate to put these two in the ring together to see who would rise as the victor.
Listening to tunes on your Android device is serious business - no doubt about it.
It's so serious that many of us are pretty well set in our ways for what we consider the "choice" Android music-listening application, and we aren't willing to budge on it.
PowerAMP users, for example, swear by the application's seemingly endless list of customizations and options. On the other hand, Subsonic devotees like myself are advocates of what is probably the most configurable music streaming experience in existence. But the big boys have come to play, and with Google Music Beta entering the foray, along with Amazon's still-somewhat-new Cloud Player, the war for musical dominance on Android getting louder by the minute.