Yes, the Play Store has been plagued by issues. Not the least of which, if you don't live in the U.S. or Canada, you've probably had an even harder time than most getting your hands on Google's newest flagship phone. If you want to get in on the furiously refreshing action, and you happen to live in the UK or Germany, today is your lucky day! Starting at 5PM local time (GMT for UK, CET for Germany...
Just as planned, Google just unleashed Play Music upon select European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK.
We've known that Google would bring Music to Europe since last month, when the Mountain View giant also announced a new alliance with Warner Music Group, meaning that Play Music was finally partnered with "all of the major record labels globally."
Readers may remember that this rollout also heralds the introduction of music matching for Google Play Music users.
Remember when you were in grade school, and your parent or teacher told you to apologize to the other kid? And you'd reply, "I'm sorry that Johnny has a big stupid face and he made me want to punch it"? Apple's been doing the same thing, except in this case the kids are billion-dollar international companies. With big stupid faces.
By now you've probably seen Apple's original apology to Samsung, ordered by the UK court to punish the company's assertion that Samsung wholly copied the iPad design.
Let this be a lesson to you all: if a judge orders you to issue a statement saying X, it might not be a good idea to say "Well, that guy said X, but everyone else in the world thinks he's an idiot, so it doesn't really matter." That's roughly what Apple did when it posted this court-ordered concession on its website. When the UK judge came back and said, "Um, no, try that again," the Cupertino company was forced to issue a new version, sans snark.
We know a lot of our international readers have been eager to get their hands on the Play Store's content ecosystem. It turns out Google is just as eager for that as you are. In addition to movie rentals, users in Canada, the UK, France, Spain, and Australia will be able to purchase movies outright and watch them forever.
Said Google on the matter:
The pace at which Samsung is pushing out Galaxy S III Jelly Bean updates is picking up steam in Europe with the much anticipated arrival of Android 4.1.1 for unbranded UK handsets. The Brits aren't the only ones getting it today - in fact, the list is quite sizeable. Here, check it out:
- UK unbranded
- Switzerland unbranded
- Luxemburg unbranded (update: supposedly, Belgian S IIIs use the same version too)
- Denmark (Three)
- Bulgaria (Mobiltel)
- Romania (Cosmote)
- Ireland (Meteor, Vodafone)
- Czech Republic (O2)
- Sweden (Tre)
- Croatia (Vipnet)
Not bad at all - looks like the next platform distribution update won't be as depressing.
In early September, Everything Everywhere announced the UK's first 4G LTE network. Simply called EE, the company plans to bring blazing-fast LTE to 16 UK cities before the end of 2012, but - until now - there was nary a word on pricing.
The company will be using a tiered approach in its 4G offering, with each bundle including unlimited voice and text:
As you can see, device prices vary according to which data bundle is chosen (take notes, US carriers), with high-end devices like the Galaxy Note II going for a mere £30 with an 8GB plan.
European O2 and Vodafone Galaxy S III owners, it's finally your turn to check out Jelly Bean first hand. Following last week's updates on Hutchison Whampoa networks (Three/3/H3G), now O2 and Vodafone joined the party and started pushing out Android 4.1.1 to Galaxy S IIIs in at least the following locations:
- O2: United Kingdom, Ireland
- Vodafone: United Kingdom, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany
The Vodafone launch started today right on schedule, as per this post from a few days ago.
It may be pretty hard for Apple to get away from the ruling that it has to state publicly on its website and in advertisements that Samsung didn't copy the iPad. An appeals court has ruled that the previous sentence should still be in place. The judges stated that, if Apple wasn't the one to clear up the confusion, the damage caused by the lawsuits all over Europe would be irreparable to Samsung.
The Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S III is steadily spreading to more countries in Europe, in addition to Poland, Sweden, France, Spain, Romania, and Austria. Today, it started rolling out in Italy (H3G), United Kingdom (H3G), Switzerland (Swisscom), and Ireland (Three), as well as on another Austrian carrier called 3 Austria. As far as I can tell, H3G, Three, and 3 are all owned by the same giant company - Hutchison Whampoa (some names are even interchangeable), so four out of five pushes today seem to be a coordinated effort.