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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
The latest Spotify update isn't anything major, but it should help make it easier to navigate the vast amount of content out there and discover what new tunes you might be interested in. Clicking on the Browse section of the Spotify side navigation menu shoots you out to a grid of genres to choose from. Clicking on any of them presents suitable artists, and there's a menu at the top where you can break down the genre even further. Read More
Even if you're not paying for Rdio's streaming music service, you can now get your groove on with the mobile app. In an effort to attract more users from Spotify and Pandora, Rdio has made its personalized radio streaming service free in the app. The new feature goes live later today with an app update in Google Play.
Rdio has 10 different station types, including those based on artists, genres, songs, and the hyper-personal "You FM." There's no offline caching, and you can't queue up specific songs, but Rdio does have over 20 million tracks to pull into the radio stations. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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:
* All Access Genre Radio is here!