No one is more tired of hearing the word "magic" applied to gadgets than I am. For the iFrogz Boost, though, I'm willing to make an exception. This device promises to amplify the sound coming out of "nearly any smartphone or digital media device" sans wires, Bluetooth, setup, or syncing. For once, in a parade of lofty promises coming from every corner of the tech sphere, a device not only makes a grandiose guarantee of convenience and ease-of-use, but actually delivers.
In the world of the future, where music is as easily accessible as air, the new bread and butter of the music industry is discovery. While services like Turntable.fm center around small social gatherings, and Pandora uses fancy algorithms to predict your tastes, 8tracks asks "Um, hey, what was wrong with how radio worked? Also, do you guys like tablets?" The answers, of course, are "You know, that's a good point," and "Um, YEAH."
8tracks was already a great service centered around user-created playlists.
To say that Poweramp is a major fan favorite music player is to put it mildly; the app has over 10 million downloads, and with over 146,500 ratings, checks in at an impressive 4.5 stars (out of 5). That's probably thanks in part to an impressive feature list:
- plays mp3, mp4/m4a (including alac), ogg, wma*, flac, wav, ape, wv, tta, mpc, aiff (* some wma pro files may require NEON support)
- 10 band optimized graphical equalizer for all supported formats, presets, custom presets
- separate Bass and Treble adjustment
- stereo eXpansion, mono mixing, balance
- replay gain
- plays songs from folders and from own library
- dynamic queue
- lyrics support, including lyrics search via musiXmatch plugin
- embed and standalone .cue files support
- support for m3u, m3u8, pls, wpl playlists
- OpenGL based cover art animation
- downloads missing album art
- 4 configurable widget types
- configurable lock screen with optional Direct Unlock
- headset support, automatic Resume on headset and/or BT connection (can be disabled in settings)
- tag editor
- visual themes, including support for external/3rd party skins
- fast library scan
- high level of customization via settings
In celebration of their success, the developers are dropping the price for 48 hours (from Friday at 12PM CST to Sunday at 12PM CST), from $4.99 to $2.49 - and they "might drop that to $1.99 if [they] get enough people excited for this sale." What are you waiting for?
We first discussed the impressively-featured, but somewhat ugly, CloudAround Music Player when it was released about two months ago. The developers promised a "slick new interface" was coming soon, and boy have they delivered - as well as brought some new, even more impressive features.
Let's start with the features first:
- Full settings section including:
- Caching limits
- Cache Clearing
- Ability to toggle hiding duplicates
- Force album/artist art scan
- Prevent artist metadata scanning
- Wifi only settings
- Artist art download quality
- Completely new beautiful UI based on user feedback
- We've had easily a hundred emails of requests
- default background images that are easy on the eye
- default art covers
- New mini player on the songs listing page, with control as well as progress
- Enhanced for tablet sized interfaces
- Landscape and portrait mode for player pages
- Artist Image Backgrounds
- Fixed foundation layer to provide for a more reliable player under OS stress
- Improved stream times
- Ability to hide/unhide artists/albums/songs from user view
- Performance boosts, which were critical for massive cloud accounts
When they say brand new interface, they really mean it.
OnLive, the company that has already revolutionized gaming is now gunning for making the same kind of splash in OS virtualization. And not just any OS virtualization, but Windows 7 in the cloud, for free - a set of words I never thought I'd write in the same sentence.
Something worth pointing out right off the bat is OnLive's "groundbreaking video compression technology" that is used to stream the Desktop cloud to your tablet.
Earlier this week, unofficial word came out that Google wasn't happy with Music's performance to date. I attribute part of the problem to the mediocre music app, though that's something that could be remedied by the unofficial Google Music API in the near future. Despite its shortcomings, some people - myself included - use the app. Others use the app that comes stock bundled with manufacturer UIs (for example, Sense, TouchWiz, and Blur all include their own custom music players).
A few days ago, we heard unofficial reports that Google was disappointed with the performance of Music thus far. While it's barely been out for a full quarter to date, there have been a few major factors holding the service back. In my opinion, one of the biggest factors holding it back thus far is the lack of an API - or, in English: third-party app support for the service. Luckily, a developer by the name of Simon Weber read the post about Google Music and got in touch a few days ago to let me know that he had a solution to the problem: an unofficial API he's been working on.
Google Music launched just 3 months ago, but CNET is already hearing from Google managers and record labels that the company is disappointed by the service's performance so far. In a nutshell: when Google Music launched, there were 200 million Android users, and that number was growing extremely quickly. The expectation was that it would be fairly easy to convert some of those users to Music customers. Unfortunately, that just isn't what's happened, with adoption lower than expected.
There's no shortage of media players in the Android Market, so creating one that stands out from the rest of the pack can be somewhat of a task. Enter a new music player called N7 Music Player, an app that brings a unique way to browse through your tunes. Have a look:
As you can see, the interface is definitely an interesting take on browsing your music collection. If scrolling through the poly-sized fonts isn't necessarily your thing, a quick pinch of the screen will display all album covers in alphabetical order (by artist).
PowerAMP, one of the most popular and versatile music player apps available for Android, got updated today to Version 2.0.5-build-480 today, bringing a handful of handy improvements to an already stellar application.
Perhaps the most notable among these are ICS-related fixes, ICS lock screen controls (which strangely don't show up on ASUS' Transformer Prime), and notification bar controls for Android 3.0+ (which don't blend well with the Prime's ICS aesthetic), providing further practical and functional integration with Android Tablets and Ice Cream Sandwich-powered devices.