Tag Archive | "music"

Google Announces Music Beta, Brings Updates to Music Apps on Honeycomb and 2.2+ – Request an Invite Today


google music betaThe oft rumored service from Google has finally been announced at Google I/O and is currently operating as a free invitation-only beta service that only works in the US. No word as to whether or not it’ll find its way to other countries, but knowing how resistant the music labels are to these kinds of services, it likely won’t be an easy task to make it happen overseas.

The concept isn’t too far fetched… with Google Music you can upload all of your music to the web, then stream it to a number of devices such as smartphones, tablets, and any computer with a modern browser. Google has created a video which briefly illustrates how the service will work:

Google has made this service much more appealing to me than the similar Amazon Cloud Player thanks to Music Manager, a multi-platform program that will help you import your music from Windows Media Player and iTunes.

I’ve spent a long time rating songs and organizing my library; thankfully the Music Manager program, compatible with OSX and Windows, will import not only all of your music but playlists and ratings as well. This is a huge point for me, and one of the reasons that I still haven’t given Amazon’s Cloud Player service a try.

Google says that Music Beta currently supports up to 20,000 songs which will playback at 320 Kbps, according to Information Week. Quality will also change dynamically based on network conditions.

The service is free in the beta phase, but it sounds like Google will be charging for it once it’s officially launched.

As Jared Newman of Time Techland points out, Google Music sounds great, but Google isn’t actually selling any music at this point. You’ll have to upload music that you download from other services.

Music App Updates

music app updatesAlong with this announcement come updates to the Music app for Android devices running Honeycomb (3.0+) or Froyo and beyond (2.2+). Honeycomb devices should already have access to the update while Android 2.2+ devices will begin to see the update in the next few weeks, according to Google.

music app honeycombThe updated app enables support for Google’s Music Beta service which will allow users to play their entire cloud-stored library on their device. For offline access, Music will cache a number of recently played songs, and you’ll also be able to manually mark which songs/artists/albums/playlists that you want to always have available on a given device for offline playback.

Instant Mix

Google has also announced a neat feature called Instant Mix. Much like Apple’s ‘Genius’, the feature aims to create a playlist from your library based on a single song that you select. Unlike Genius, Instant Mix actually analyzes your music by listening to it, then suggests similar songs based on the waveform of each individual song. Pretty neat.

Request an Invite

If you want to give Google Music Beta a try, just head over to music.google.com and find the “Request an Invitation inch button at the top right of the page. There’s no word yet on how exactly Google is handing out invitations, but knowing Google, they’ll probably be rolling them out in waves.

Even if you don’t have an invitation to the service, you’ll still have access to the updated versions of the Music app for use with locally stored music.

Google Announces Music Beta, Brings Updates to Music Apps on Honeycomb and 2.2+ – Request an Invite Today


google music betaThe oft rumored service from Google has finally been announced at Google I/O and is currently operating as a free invitation-only beta service that only works in the US. No word as to whether or not it’ll find its way to other countries, but knowing how resistant the music labels are to these kinds of services, it likely won’t be an easy task to make it happen overseas.

The concept isn’t too far fetched… with Google Music you can upload all of your music to the web, then stream it to a number of devices such as smartphones, tablets, and any computer with a modern browser. Google has created a video which briefly illustrates how the service will work:

Google has made this service much more appealing to me than the similar Amazon Cloud Player thanks to Music Manager, a multi-platform program that will help you import your music from Windows Media Player and iTunes.

I’ve spent a long time rating songs and organizing my library; thankfully the Music Manager program, compatible with OSX and Windows, will import not only all of your music but playlists and ratings as well. This is a huge point for me, and one of the reasons that I still haven’t given Amazon’s Cloud Player service a try.

Google says that Music Beta currently supports up to 20,000 songs which will playback at 320 Kbps, according to Information Week. Quality will also change dynamically based on network conditions.

The service is free in the beta phase, but it sounds like Google will be charging for it once it’s officially launched.

As Jared Newman of Time Techland points out, Google Music sounds great, but Google isn’t actually selling any music at this point. You’ll have to upload music that you download from other services.

Music App Updates

music app updatesAlong with this announcement come updates to the Music app for Android devices running Honeycomb (3.0+) or Froyo and beyond (2.2+). Honeycomb devices should already have access to the update while Android 2.2+ devices will begin to see the update in the next few weeks, according to Google.

music app honeycombThe updated app enables support for Google’s Music Beta service which will allow users to play their entire cloud-stored library on their device. For offline access, Music will cache a number of recently played songs, and you’ll also be able to manually mark which songs/artists/albums/playlists that you want to always have available on a given device for offline playback.

Instant Mix

Google has also announced a neat feature called Instant Mix. Much like Apple’s ‘Genius’, the feature aims to create a playlist from your library based on a single song that you select. Unlike Genius, Instant Mix actually analyzes your music by listening to it, then suggests similar songs based on the waveform of each individual song. Pretty neat.

Request an Invite

If you want to give Google Music Beta a try, just head over to music.google.com and find the “Request an Invitation” button at the top right of the page. There’s no word yet on how exactly Google is handing out invitations, but knowing Google, they’ll probably be rolling them out in waves.

Even if you don’t have an invitation to the service, you’ll still have access to the updated versions of the Music app for use with locally stored music.

Intel’s Guitar Man and a Lenovo S10-3T


His name is Uli Dumschat and he’s a marketing engineer for Intel Atom products for Intel in Europe. He was just one of a number of presentations we saw at Intel’s Atom developer day in Berlin (Germans, head over to IT-Techblog for a rundown of the day) and after this video he simply got up, turned on the projector and delivered a great presentation about software development tools for Intel Atom. Talent! We’ll be spending a week at IDF next week so you’ll hear more than enough from me about the latest and greatest Atom ecosystem advances so all I want to do here is show you the man with the guitar. It’s wonderful!

More on Uli’s sound here. Facebook page here. More about Uli’s Intel work here.

Oh, and what has this got to do with mobile computing? Check the Lenovo S10-3T he’s using for live effects processing.

Don’t forget to watch in 480p as the sound is much better.

Music On The [MID] Move


I’ve been having a look (or should that be listen) to the music capabilities of the BenQ S6 MID device. With a stereo headphone socket and a music player as part of the built in software, the device can be used as a portable music player.

But is it any good?

A good music player needs to have a couple of areas where it has to perform. The audio quality, the navigation of music on the device, and transferring music from another computer.

Audio quality output is good, the speakers on the device happily fill my kitchen and taking it outside there’s enough volume to listen comfortably when in the park. It’s when you start listening on headphones that there’s a problem. The headphone socket (which also carries the microphone socket as well) is only a 2.5mm jack socket. The standard size on pretty much any consumer device is 3.5mm, and my favourite headphones (including my custom moulded monitors) are all that size. While you can get adaptors, I fail to see any design reasons to go for the smaller jack plug that benefits the end user.

Looking through your music on the device is not a pleasant task. Although all my MP3 files have the correct ID3 tags, with the artist, album, track numbers and album art, the S6 does not use any of that information. Once you open the media application and start navigating music, you are using the directory structure and filenames of the MP3 files, with little option to search through the meta-information.

The controls only show up on the screen when you tap the play icon next to a media file – this places the controls over the the screen for a few seconds before disappearing again. It’s not at all intuitive. What’s more, once you switch away from the media player, there are no on-screen controls you can pop up to control the music.

Finally, transferring music to the device. I had to resort to using a blue tooth transfer from my PC to get a connection to the memory card or internal memory of the S6. While I know many people will be able to do this, it is not a consumer ready solution.

Compare the hoops you have to jump through when compared to the iPod Touch and iTunes, the ease of controlling the music, and searching through with your eyes or filters, and you realise that the BenQ has some work to do to make the S6 acceptable as a music player.

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