Third-party music players are a little less important ever since Google cleaned up Play Music, but there's still something to be said for the venerable old doubleTwist. This app has gone through several UI iterations and adjusted its feature set to better serve Android users as time went on. With the newest update, the app improves support for tablets with a UI overhaul, among other improvements.
A few months ago Spotify introduced the ability for users to stream music over Wi-Fi to a select speakers. The feature, coined Spotify Connect, was unfortunately limited only to iOS devices. Now an update has landed for the Android app that officially makes it multi-platform.
You will need a Spotify Premium subscription in order to make use of this feature, but that's not all. Only a few speakers currently work with Spotify Connect. Bang & Olufsen has the BeoPlay A9, and Pioneer has distributed a firmware update adding compatibility to several of their models.
Spotify Connect doesn't offer much that you can't already do with a Bluetooth speaker, but it does save you from having to pair your device.
Remember two years ago when everyone was head-over-heels in love with Turntable.fm? Well, things haven't gone swimmingly since the hype died down. After launching mobile apps and rolling out new features, the team is calling it quits. Instead of continuing with Turntable.fm, they're going to work on a new live concert platform called Turntable Live.
In case you never got swept up in the hype, Turntable.fm is an online community where you can start rooms and play songs for everyone. There are multiple DJ spots, and each party gets to queue up songs. The crowd can vote on tracks and chat while listening.
SoundCloud is known for letting users share original audio, and it's a great way to hear a bit of what creative types are out there, well, creating. With millions of users, there's ample reason to keep the Android app from stagnating for too long. So version 2.7 is now rolling out, and it brings a handful of new features that improve the interface and make discovering new content even easier.
The side menu has been redesigned to make most-used functions more accessible. It comes with a slimmer look that improves upon what is already an attractive UI. Some settings have been tucked away under the options menu, such as Who to follow, activity, record, and settings.
It seems like if you're willing to strap a computer to your face, you should at least be able to listen to music with it. However, that isn't an option with Google Glass, but it will be in just a few short weeks. Google has announced that Glass Explorers will soon have the option to stream tunes from Google Play Music on Glass. There will also be new Glass stereo earbuds available for a proper listening experience.
Like most things on Glass, music will be accessible with a voice command. Glass will be able to pull tunes from a user's uploaded library, as well as anything available with an All Access subscription.
In our last Glass Teardown, we found a ton of new commands hidden in the resources of GlassVoice.apk, pulled from the XE10 update. Just a couple of days ago, XE11 rolled out to Explorers, and it's got even more to tell us about future Glass functionality.
In this teardown, we'll take a look at progress on functions XE10 hinted at, new resources that clarify some of our previous discoveries, and a couple of new things as well.
GlassVoice.apk was full of goodies last time. It revealed voice commands for lots of things, from "Capture a Panorama" to "Play a Game" to "Record a Recipe." It was our speculation that these commands were serving as hooks for third-party glassware to latch onto, putting their functionality in the "ok glass" list in much the same manner as apps like Evernote already do.
Google has been fiddling with the way lockscreen media controls should work since Ice Cream Sandwich, and they've gotten yet another makeover in KitKat. When a supported app like Google Play Music, Netflix, or Play Movies is running in the background (Chromecast-only in the last two instances) you get a full screen display of the artwork associated with the content on the lockscreen. It offers some new functionality too.
You can still navigate around to other lockscreen widgets and the album art will still be there – it essentially takes the place of your background. If the image is high-resolution that's great.
A few of our readers spotted the Chromecast icon hanging out in yesterday's tablet-focused update to Pandora, and sure enough, it looks like the flip was switched this morning. You can now use Pandora to stream your stations directly from Chromecast the same way that you can with Google Play Music. Our guess is that Google needed to enable support via its media provider app list.
There's no need to update the app again if you grabbed yesterday's update, though you may need to force close it if it's been running in the background. When you're ready to Cast (as the kids say) just tap the icon and select your Chromecast.
Yesterday Billboard issued a report claiming that Google subsidiary YouTube is preparing to release a streaming music service. This service would be offered in both free and premium tiers a la Spotify, and it is reportedly a separate entity from Google Play's music service, All Access. Specific details on date and price are not available, but Billboard claims that all the licensing deals made through All Access will be available for the new service and a launch is tentatively planned for before the end of the year.
The report says that the service (let's call it YouTube Music for the sake of brevity) will be offered on both web and mobile platforms, with the free tier having access to all the networked music and video content and the paid tier removing advertising.
Back in early September, Google pushed out a version of Play Music that brought genre-based radio to mobile. Today, Music 5.3.1233L is making its way out via staged rollout, and it brings yet another radio feature: I'm Feeling Lucky radio.
Like its name suggests, this is an auto-generated radio station based on your past listening preferences. So, it's perfect when you can't figure out what to listen to. Unfortunately, it seems to stay focused on whatever genre you listen to the most – it doesn't seem to throw a mix of everything for those who may listen to more than one style of music (read: basically everyone).