The internet got all sad and nostalgic in November when AOL announced with little fanfare that Winamp was shutting down. The music player and streaming service had been whipping llamas for 15 years, and it seemed like a depressing and inauspicious end. AOL smartly held off on the shutdown when there appeared to be interest in buying Winamp, and that's just what happened. Winamp is being sold to Belgian online radio purveyor Radionomy.
Conventional wisdom says that mobile devices are for content consumption, but content creation is the realm of laptops and desktops. Sure, you see "created using nothing but an iPad" every once in a while, but if you're looking at something professional, odds are good that its creator used a reliable mouse and keyboard at some point. Then along comes an app like Cross DJ, challenging our notions of what can be done on a touchscreen and ARM hardware.
Spotify made news earlier today by lowering its barrier to entry, allowing users to stream music to their phone or tablets for free. Yet it isn't the only music-streaming service in town, and competitor Rdio has expanded access to 20 additional countries. This brings the total number of supported territories up to 51, which this handy map illustrates.
Google's streaming music subscription service continues to creep across the globe, arriving in new countries suddenly and without warning. It's kind of like the Black Death, except fewer people die (so far). Today Google Play All Access has hit Germany with millions of songs for just a few bucks per month.
German users were greeted by the All Access popup in Play Music yesterday and immediately began shouting from every social media rooftop.
Version 5.3 of the Google Play Music app is flying out to Android devices right now, bringing with it... not a lot, actually. A quick look inside reveals bolded "Listen Now" text in the slide-out menu, a version update to 5.3.1316M, and not much else. But as usual, our hyper-intelligent cloud of futuristic swarming nanobots is pouring over the APK file, and there's plenty to be excited about.
Since its introduction, Google Glass has been in the unfortunate position of having relatively limited functionality. However, with a steady stream of updates and eventually the emergence of the Glassware tab in the MyGlass interface, we've known the elusive wearable was due for some more exciting things. A few weeks after announcing plans to add Play Music to Glass, Google has quietly added it to the list of apps supported on the elusive wearable.
If you're listening to music while using your phone or tablet for something else, you don't always want to stop what you're doing to fiddle with the song. If you're in a game, for example, you may have to exit to the home screen just to get to your music controls, but SidePlayer offers an alternative. It pops a small control panel out from the edge of the screen when you need it, and hides it when you don't.
There's a new version of YouTube out, and as usual, hidden inside its chocolaty center are hints at upcoming features and capabilities. We've seen information about a lot of this stuff before, some of which has even been confirmed by Google itself. Aside from the user interface changes we mentioned in the announcement post, there are framework elements for the upcoming YouTube subscription service, "Uninterrupted Playback," an offline video mode, and background music listening.
If you're a regular user of the iHeartRadio service, there's a big update waiting for you in the Play Store. The most useful addition in the new version of the Android app is undoubtedly the expanded control options: you can now pause, play, or advance your streaming music on the lockscreen or the new notification. The notification is even expandable - are you watching this, Pandora?
The user interface gets a fancy new slide-out menu, accessible from the main player and home screens.
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.