It's not often that RCA does something worth talking about these days, but the company has apparently been working on a product dubbed the Internet Music System (model number RCS13101E). This device streams media to the included speakers, or to a TV over HDMI. That's cool, but the important thing is that it's powered by Android with Google apps included. It has just started popping up in Walmart stockrooms, and will presumably be on sale soon.
Sony knows you like playing pinball, but they also know you tend to reach for the volume rocker after you launch the ball into the first bumper and it sets off a cacophony of sound. They know that all that pinball experience needs to be perfect is background music that overpowers those obnoxious pinball sound effects. So they've brought in hits from rock bands both new and old to provide the soundtrack for Pinball Rocks HD, an experience Sony's pitching as the loudest pinball game ever.
A Google Play Music update v5.2 just popped up in the Play Store, though it's being slowly rolled out, as is the case with many big Google apps nowadays. The previous version is 5.1, and indeed I'm seeing quite a few changes inside that would warrant a point release.
Update 9/10/13 4:00pm PT: the official changelog has been posted:
As Android users, we've all grown accustomed to getting apps ported to our devices that originated on iOS. It's for this reason that Music Maker Jam by MAGIX's Android debut comes as a bit of a surprise. This app comes to us not from the Apple App Store, but from the Windows Store instead. Music Maker Jam makes mixing your own songs an easy experience and offers a large selection of professionally produced material to work with.
Shazam is no longer the only app that can listen to music and tell you what song is playing, but it's still a pretty popular app. That's why it was so upsetting that Shazam was obscenely ugly. Thankfully, in the just released update Shazam has gotten a complete UI overhaul, and it's kind of #HOLOYOLO.
We featured Audio Glow when it launched in November of last year. This ultra-stylish music visualizer takes the basic visual component of classic hi-fi systems and gives it a fresh coat of paint. It's gained quite a following thanks to eye-popping visuals and a huge degree of customization. Today's version 2.0 update adds some interesting options, most notably the new "Glowing Strings" visualization, below.
This nifty option is available as a $1 in-app purchase for the main Music Visualizer app, but the developer has kindly included a 5-minute preview that you can check out before buying.
I really like the Sonos system of wireless music servers and speakers. I also can't afford it due to a wretched and unshakeable habit of collecting novelty egg cups. But my job does give me a paper-thin excuse for buying tons of Android devices, and it just so happens that a new app will let me cobble those together to make a vague approximation of a connected music system.
SoundSeeder is more or less a straight-up copy of Samsung's Group Play, with the obvious addition that you don't need Samsung hardware at either end to use it.
There's no shortage of music players for Android, but each one fills a particular niche that another offering just doesn't quite address. CloudAround, for example, is a great option for people who love cloud storage but don't want to trust their files entirely to one service or happen to rely on a service that doesn't offer a music streaming app (i.e. most of them). NicePlayer's draw is perhaps more superficial. This is a music player for people who love a clean card-style layout and can't get enough of apps that embrace it.
Floating Music Widget, despite the name, isn't really a widget. It's an app that launches a floating window granting quick access to your currently playing song. The app takes the music widget that usually resides on your lock screen and lets you use it anywhere. It isn't rich with features, but it's a convenient way of bouncing back and forward between tracks. Yet despite doing exactly what it promises, it probably won't replace other means of managing music for most people.
One of Google's problem areas has long been the living room, and the Chrome team looks to be coming to the rescue by leveraging the huge mobile device ecosystem. The Chromecast is a new device running a simplified version of Chrome OS. It enables you to get content from your phone, tablet, or laptop to a bigger screen. This is not a Chrome OS computer in a tiny package, but rather a smaller, cheaper, more capable Nexus Q.