Google has updated its brand new Google Music application for Android application with one change that will be welcome to many users. It’s now possible to delete songs directly from your microSD card — an option that was frustratingly missing from the original launch — and it should include bug fixes as well. The search engine announced Google Music in tandem with its new Music Beta cloud storage platform earlier this month, and if you haven’t given it a try yet we highly suggest that you do. The app’s user interface is a large improvement over the default Android music player. The update is free and is available in the Android Market now.
You no longer need an iPad to purchase and read some of your favorite magazines on a tablet. On Wednesday Next Issue Media — an independent media venture founded by Conde Nast, Hearst Corporation, Meredith, News Corp. and Time Inc. — released an early build of its new Android publishing platform. It’s home to popular titles such as Esquire, Popular Mechanics, Parents, New Yorker, Fortune, and Time. The applications for each magazine are only available on Samsung’s original Galaxy Tab on Verizon Wireless for now, and you’ll need to download them from Verizon’s own VCast application store, AllThingsD said. An issue of Esquire costs $4.99, although it can be purchased for $1.99 per month, too. Next Issue Media’s CEO, Morgan Guenther, said that publishers will receive “at least” 70% of each transaction, and that the company plans to offer at least 40 different magazine titles by the end of 2011. A webOS version is in the works, for HP’s upcoming TouchPad tablet, and we hope the firm has an Android 3.0 Honeycomb build in development, too. More →
PopCap Games announced on Monday that it has reached an agreement with Amazon to offer Android games through Amazon’s Appstore. The first title, Chuzzle, will launch tomorrow and will be followed by the hit game Plants vs. Zombies later this month. Both titles will be free on the day of their debut, and will be available for $2.99 each thereafter. Each game will be exclusively available through Amazon’s Appstore for a two week period, after which they should also be available from the Android Market. We’ve played Plants vs Zombies on iOS a few times, and it’s definitely a game you’ll want to keep your eye out for. Plus, it’s free and there are zombies. It doesn’t get any better than that. Hit the jump for the full release from PopCap Games. More →
Google on Wednesday announced more ways for Android users to discover fresh applications on its Android Market website. A new “Top apps” chart is now country specific and provides the newest content across top new free, top new paid, and top grossing lists. Google also added an “Editor’s Choice” section that displays the best applications as chosen by the Android team. Other enhancements include a “Top Developers” section, improved recommendations of related apps, and a “trending apps” feature on the home page that shows applications that are particularly hot based on the number of daily installs. The changes are live now at http://market.android.com. More →
Google just took the wraps off of its new movie rental service for Android devices. Movies rentals will start at $1.99 and users can download their favorite films directly from Android Market. There’s a 30-day rental period and you’ll have 24 hours to complete watching your movie once you’ve started playing it. Google will release separate movie applications for phones and for tablets, and both apps allow users to stream live from the cloud to a device. Movies can also be stored locally for offline playback. There are “thousands” of movies available at http://market.Android.com for those with the XOOM and today’s Android 3.1 update. The service will be available on Android 2.2 devices in a couple of weeks.
According to IHS-owned market research firm iSuppli, revenues from major mobile app stores will grow 77.7% to $3.8 billion this year. iSuppli estimates that major app markets like those offered by Apple, Google, Nokia and RIM sold $2.1 billion worth of apps in 2010 and just $830.6 million in 2009. “With consumers continuing to show robust, unflagging interest in downloading games and other applications to devices like smart phones and tablets, collective revenues from the four stores will climb sharply this year,” said IHS mobile media analyst Jack Kent in a statement. According to the report, consumers’ hunger for mobile apps won’t be slowing down any time soon. The firm suggests that app store sales will continue to grow linearly — as most analysts these days seem to believe all growth is linear — with revenues ballooning to $5.6 billion in 2012 and $8.3 billion in 2014. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Yes, we’re also tired of accessing Google’s mobile website to view our Google Docs on Android. That’s why we’re happy to report that Google has officially launched a standalone app for Android smartphones. Users can open attachments directly from GMail, share and filter docs, and upload new documents right from their Android phone. There’s also a homescreen widget for quickly opening starred documents, uploading photo, or creating new files. But here’s the real squeeze: the app uses optical character recognition (OCR) tech which allows you to snap photos of text to create editable documents — sorry Kinkos! Uploaded photos will be automatically convert to this format, too. Google says the only limitation is that it doesn’t recognize handwriting and “some fonts.” Google Docs for Android is available for Android 2.1+ phones in the Android Market now. Hit the jump for the QR code.
Facebook has updated its Android client to version 1.5.3, which includes several noteworthy additions. It’s now possible to tag friends in your status updates — a feature that alerts a user if you’ve mentioned him or her in your post — and users can also find new friends directly from their Android smartphones. In addition to those changes, Facebook also noted several bug fixes, and said the update will also enable users to add their phone numbers to their Facebook profile. Facebook for Android v1.5.3 is available in the Android Market now, although users with automatic updating should already be up to speed. More →
Google Maps has hit a new milestone as the first Android application to surpass the 50 million download mark. The free application has seen many revisions since its public introduction in 2008 — as part of Android 1.6 — and now includes 3D modeling with multi-touch zoom and panning, free voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, and support for Google’s Latitude and Places products. Given that it’s available on every iteration of Android — that we can think of — we’re not surprised to learn it’s the most downloaded application ever. Congrats to the Google Maps team. More →
On Wednesday Sony Ericsson announced that it has launched its own channel in the Android Market. The firm says it will use the channel to recommend specific apps and games, provide original content like Timescape plugins, offer exclusive gaming titles, and to help promote apps developed by partners. The channel sounds a lot like the custom area of the Android Market that many U.S. wireless carriers use to recommend applications, and it should be a useful option for owners of Sony Ericsson Android handsets. There’s one caveat: the update is carrier dependent, which means it won’t be available to all of Sony Ericsson’s customers. Hit the jump for more info. More →
Google has confirmed that the nation’s third largest wireless provider, Sprint, has started rolling out a new feature to its Android Market users: carrier billing. Sprint will — presumably — get a small cut of the total amount spent, which will be charged to users’ monthly wireless statements. According to intel gathered by blog Android Central, corporate customers will — for obvious reasons — be automatically opted-out of the service; users that voluntarily decline access to carrier billing “will be presented with the option to bill to account but will not be able to successfully purchase using this payment option.” The rollout should be completed by tomorrow, April 14th. Sprint has yet to publicly announce the addition. More →
Ahead of the release of Sony Ericsson’s highly anticipated Xperia PLAY smartphone, Sony PlayStation games have begun appearing in Google’s Android Market. Five title’s became available in the Market on Thursday, including Syphon Filter, MediEvil and Cool Boarders 2. Currently available titles are listed for $6.38 each, and more are expected in the coming days and weeks. Sony Ericsson’s Xperia PLAY will be the first PlayStation Certified Android smartphone when it launches soon, and it will be capable of playing original PlayStation games downloaded through the Android Market. The Xperia PLAY will launch on Verizon Wireless’ network in the U.S. some time this spring. More →
Angry Birds Rio, the latest free game in the Angry Birds franchise from Rovio, is now available from the Android Market. The game features two episodes — a total of 60 different levels – complete with some gameplay twists built around Rio the movie. Rovio has added new achievements, as well as “hidden fruits” that you’ll discover as you play. Instead of attacking pigs, as usual, your goal is to liberate imprisoned birds by knocking them out of their respective cages. We played through the first few levels of episode 1 and are digging it so far; it has the same addictive gameplay we’ve come to expect from Angry Birds. The best part? Rovio will add episodic updates each month through November. Hit the jump for a gameplay trailer. More →