About a year ago, Apple debuted in-app subscriptions on its App Store - now Google is following suit with the introduction of in-app subscription support on the Play Store. Developers can take advantage of this system very easily, by simply adding a subscription option to their apps with a price and billing period (subscriptions will show up for users in their Play Store under a new category). Google takes care of the rest - all subscriptions are auto-renewing, and can be managed by users through the Play Store interface.
If you're among the minority of users who own an Ice Cream Sandwich device and have a cable subscription that includes access to the HBO/MAX GO services, you can now access your mobile video service on your device. HBO already has an impressive library of shows available on GO, including Game of Thrones and the Sopranos, and MAX GO is the companion Cinemax service that offers 400+ movies for instant streaming.
To the more budget minded, services like Hulu are a godsend; for a fraction of the cost of Cable TV, you can get a large chunk of the content. The deal isn't great for everyone, though, since it cuts into cable providers and networks' huge profits (instead, they just get... normal profits). Clearly this is a serious problem, and it's been speculated that it's probably the main reason companies like Comcast have instituted bandwidth caps on their internet service - so as to curb enthusiasm for streaming services in favor of their own (more expensive) in-house offerings.
We've heard whispers that the powers that be have been working on a bulk subscription service for magazines. Now, they're finally delivering it. Next Issue offers users a very Netflix-like subscription service that includes unlimited access to current and some older issues of a selection of magazines for $10 a month. Or, for $15 a month you can get a slightly bigger selection of magazines. Yes, it's tiered.
At the moment, the selection is particularly small, though it does offer quite a few big name magazines.
Everyone hates junk mail, right? I'm not talking about spam emails you get in your inbox on a daily basis, which you may not even notice if you're using Gmail. I'm talking about those pesky paper ads that arrive over snail mail almost every single day, burying the lone letters you do actually care about in an ocean of, well, crap.
Last week, I ran into a website called http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com which finally let me opt out of the 1500-pound Yellow Book.
You guys remember Rhapsody, right? The music streaming service that was sitting in the back seat next to Rdio, MOG, and GrooveShark back when Spotify was stealing all the U.S. spotlight? Rhapsody was the one desperately trying to wash the stink of Real Player off its clothes. Well, it's back with another update to its mobile app, and this time it's bringing with it a sweet new tablet interface.
Of the major music streaming services, Rhapsody appears to be the first to create a proper tablet interface for its mobile app.
Hulu, one of the top TV and movie streaming sites on the web, has long been an elusive target for Android users. At first, we didn't have Flash. Once we got Flash, Hulu started blocking Flash-enabled Android devices. Many hacks followed, but required modifications to the Flash apk and resulted in less than optimal viewing experience in the browser. In January, we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel, when the upcoming official application was finally revealed, though without any promises on delivery timelines.
Now that continuous waves of attacks against Sony's servers have slowed down a bit (it's been over a week since the last hack), the company found some strength to regroup and released an Android client for its popular cloud music service Music Unlimited, powered by Qriocity.
$3.99/month for basic and $9.99/month for premium (30-day free trial available) buy you streaming of various catalogs of music from the web (à la Pandora) as well as syncing of your own library to Sony's cloud servers with subsequent playback from said cloud (à la Amazon Cloud Drive and Google Music).
If you've ever used your phone for notetaking, you've no doubt heard of Catch Notes, and its impressive stats in the Market (i.e. a 4.5-star average rating and over a million downloads) are a great representation of its overall quality. It's got many unique features - organization is done with geo-tagging and Twitter-like hash tags, and the app also offers great social capabilities as well as SSL encryption.
DI.FM fans, in an announcement on Facebook, your favorite radio station just dropped its Android app (previously available as only an off-Market beta) in the Android Market. Being one of such fans - Digitally Imported Premium is one of the few services I pay for monthly - I can tell you that the app is superb - it's clean, well designed, functional, and not over-bloated with features nobody needs.
Besides the obvious music streaming from all of DI's 37 channels, the app offers an ability to set favorite stations, stream using different bitrates when on Wi-Fi or cellular networks, and an ability to log into Premium to experience higher quality music without commercials.