When it comes to streaming subscription services, Spotify has stolen the spotlight in the US, where companies like Rdio have struggled to get the attention and acclaim they used to enjoy back before the Swedish invasion. With Xbox Music looming on the horizon, promising to install 30 million free, ad-supported tracks into every computer running Windows 8, the market has never been more competitive. Which makes Rdio's newly announced overhaul to its Android app all the more timely.
When turntable.fm first came out on Android, we were excited. In my review, I said that it was a fantastic start, but could use a bit of polish. In no small part, because of those dang iOS-style buttons. While I still believe that iOS- buttons do not single-handedly make a lazy port, it's nice to see that the developer has taken the time to bring the UI in line with the newest guidelines.
While services like Spotify and Rdio may steal the spotlight most of the time, there are other streaming subscription services out there. Related: we need a better name than "streaming subscription services." Rhapsody, originally founded by Real Networks and since become an independent entity, has a pretty impressive library that users can now download for offline playback. An essential feature for a modern cloud music player. Update: To clarify, it's the ability to download songs on an individual or per-album basis that is new.
If you want to listen to your own music on your Android device, there are two ways to do it: first, store it locally, or second, stream it from a cloud-based service like Google Music or Amazon MP3. Obviously playing back locally would be faster (no buffering), reliable (you don't have to worry about reception), not use up valuable bandwidth, and allow you to use whatever music player you want.
Today, Spotify's Android app received an update that should please audiophiles the world over (where available): if you're using the mobile app on Ice Cream Sandwich or above, you can now access an equalizer from the Settings menu. The features is actually called "Audio Effects" in 4.0, but on Jelly Bean it's been changed to the more readily-recognizable "Equalizer" moniker.
Also new is the ability to share music via NFC.
It's never easy to be a questionably-legal music streaming service on the internet. Grooveshark has had trouble with submitting an Android app in the past. A couple days ago, we thought the company had ironed out its problems with Google's ToS when it reappeared on the Play Store. Not so, it seems, as the app has now been pulled yet again.
We haven't heard exactly why the app has been pulled this time around.
Over a year ago, Google removed the Grooveshark app from what was then the Android Market due to a violation of the terms of service. Of course, with a service like Grooveshark, being removed from the Play Store was just the first of its worries - the company has definitely seen its fair share of legal issues over the last several months. Still, after its departure from the Store, Grooveshark continued to offer the app free of charge through its website.
One of the worst phrases a human being can put together is "automatic video editor." The whole thing feels like it's set up for failure. Like "vasectomy in a box" or "snooki's pregnant." Add in "for Android" and, well, let's just say I've been burned before. So it came as an unbelievable shock when I tried out Magisto, which claims to be both of these things, and it was good.
A bunch of new fun stuff is coming down the pipeline, Google-fans! Your favorite search giant has just pushed several updates to some of its headlining properties, including Play Music, Play Magazines, and Google Goggles. We've got the full rundown for you.
For starters, Google Music has added expandable notifications to its repertoire. It doesn't look like you'll see much more info if you expand it, but Play Music continues to be one of the best examples of how to make notifications robust and useful.