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:
Losing the cellular connection on your phone, even briefly, can be a potentially serious issue. It might come at the moment you need to call for emergency services, or when somebody is trying to call you. Today, we're going to talk about a pair of issues on the Nexus 4 that can send it into radio silence for as little as a few seconds, or as long as it takes for you to notice it.
Some app updates have really short change logs, but don't let that deceive you into thinking this isn't a big deal. Tune-In Radio was updated today with only "We've fixed some bugs to improve your TuneIn experience" listed as what's new. What bugs did they fix? Well, the only one that matters to us is that they got rid of the persistent notification that plagued users running Android 4.3.
If you're scratching your head right now, here's some context.
The BBC iPlayer video application has been available to Android-totting Englishmen for some time, but the audio equivalent has sadly lagged behind. Today the app finally lands on Android, and it was worth the wait: BBC Licence Fee subscribers can listen to the various radio stations over WiFi or mobile Internet, and it even works when they travel abroad. Unfortunately, the service isn't available to international users at any price.
The interface of iPlayer Radio is an interesting mix of Holo elements and unique ideas, particularly a station selector that apes an old-school rotary phone dialer.
Sometimes Long-Term Evolution wireless is presented as the future of mobile, and the answer to network incompatibility. That's half true. While LTE and GSM tend to play nice (or at least nicer than the entirely disparate GSM and CDMA standards) the bands and frequencies used for high-speed wireless access vary pretty widely in different countries, or here in the US, across different networks. Chip OEM Qualcomm is hoping to banish network anxiety with a new family of LTE radios, christened RF360.
As if there weren't enough contenders out there for music subscription service, Slacker Radio has updated its business model. You can still get the standard ad-supported radio station features that were always available. However the company has added a Spotify-like buffet option for $10/month. Pony up the dough and you can remove all ads and listen to as many tracks as you want.
The combination is pretty powerful, as one of the biggest complaints over Spotify is its discovery problems.
Finance radio! Are you excited yet? Good. Bloomberg has released an app for the company's 24 hour network of audio shows discussing economics, business, and investment. Through Bloomberg Radio+ you can either choose to listen to whatever's on the air right now, or pull from a list of on-demand shows. You can even download the episodes for offline listening.
The app actually looks very well made. It's as feature-packed as one would want a streaming radio service to be.
The Spotify Android app typically lags behind not only its counterpart on other platforms, but even its own desktop app. One of the nicest features that the streaming service offers on the desktop is its Radio services. Using your own selections as a starting point, Spotify will put together automated playlists based on your taste. You know, like Pandora. As of today's update, the Radio functions are not only available on mobile but are even accessible even if you don't have Spotify Premium.
ESPN hasn't exactly been the poster child for great app design in the past. While the company has made several Android apps, many of them have looked rather atrocious and a bit too iOS-y. ESPN, however, has re-launched its ESPN Radio app. The old app appears to have been made by independent company Airkast, while the new app has been brought in-house. And, apparently, ESPN's house does a fine job of making an app.
The portable Bluetooth speaker market is rapidly heating up, and one of our favorite designs in recent memory in the super-portable range was the Geneva Model XS. It's sleek, minimalistic, and so retro. Unfortunately, one crippling design flaw (along with some strange control choices) means this $250, almost art-like speaker / clock-radio just doesn't work in the real world.
The flaw? The hinge on the outer case is made of like, paper-thin plastic.