On Wednesday, Android head Andy Rubin said that Google’s Music Store will offer a special “twist” that will separate it from its competitors. Speaking to Business Insider, an anonymous record industry source said the “twist” is that Google Music users will be able to share songs with other users “on a limited basis.” Reportedly, the catch is that users will need to purchase the song first and friends will only be able to listen to the track for a limited amount of time. The service reminds us a lot of Spotify, which allows users to share tracks with one another for free. However, the free version of Spotify requires a user to listen to an occasional advertisement unless they sign up for one of two monthly subscription options. It is unclear when Google will launch its Music Store, but rumors have suggested it could make its debut this quarter. More →
Google will announce and launch its own music store this quarter, Business Insider said recently. The company revealed its Music beta service in May, which allows users to store up to 20,000 songs in the cloud, but now users will be able to purchase and download tracks, too. Google is reportedly already in negotiations with the major music labels and The New York Times recently reported that the service will launch in the “next several weeks.” Record labels, however, are worried that Google’s cloud storage option could kindle, not stifle, music piracy. “We want to make sure the locker doesn’t become a bastion of piracy,” one executive told The New York Times. If Google introduces a music store it will compete directly with third-party music apps, such as the Amazon MP3 store, on Android smartphones and tablets. Perhaps we’ll hear more on the topic during the joint Samsung/Google Ice Cream Sandwich press conference on October 18th.
Silicone cases for the iPhone 5 have started to show up in AT&T stores according to an image received by MacRumors. The images, if authentic, set to rest the constant questions volleying back and forth over whether or not Apple will release a device called the “iPhone 5″ or just a device called the “iPhone 4S” this year. The cases suggest, as most reports have stated, that the iPhone 5 will indeed sport a thinner profile and a mute switch on the opposite side of the phone. In addition to Friday’s leak, on Thursday BGR exclusively published an image of AT&T internal inventory system that revealed an incoming stock of Case-Mate cases for the iPhone 5. BGR also published exclusive first images of the Case-Mate cases on September 15th, before the company quickly pulled them from its website. Apple will hold a press conference on October 4th in Cuperinto, California after which we will finally be able to put these rumors to rest. More →
Facebook will launch a music service on September 22nd, CNBC reported today. There are currently no details on whether it will be a streaming subscription service or simply a music storefront similar to iTunes, and Facebook has not yet confirmed the announcement. Business Insider said the Facebook music service will integrate with other third party services such as Spotify and Rdio. CNBC also suggested Facebook will work with MOG, another music service that has a long-standing relationship with Facebook. Spotify and Rdio currently allow users to integrate with social networks to share songs and playlists with friends. More →
Nokia’s affiliate team has confirmed that Nokia will close its UK online shop by the end of the month. In a letter to partners, the Finnish firm said, “This message is to inform you that Nokia is closing their affiliate [program]… in keeping with a strategic business decision to close down the Nokia UK online shop.” The company argued that it has been hard to compete with wireless carriers that are offering products at subsidized prices. “We are planning to close the current UK online store to simplify our channel structure and focus our resources on our key trade customers,” a Nokia spokesperson told Tech Radar. More →
One of the major benefits of owning an Android handset is the ability to install applications from non-Market sources — without the necessity of a dev-team intervention. AT&T customers have not, however, been privy to this particular feature… that is until now. In a letter to developers, the carrier has confirmed that it will, from this point forward, allow users to install Android apps from third-party sources such as the Amazon App Store. The act of installing applications through unofficial channels — oft referred to as side-loading — has been disabled by AT&T since the introduction of its first Android handset. The carrier’s newest Android offering, the Samsung Infuse 4G, was the first device to ship with the side-loading handcuffs removed and, thankfully, it looks like it won’t be the last. More →
Android is planning to release an “entire family” of Android-powered devices, not just one tablet as originally thought, according to Android and Me. The rumor hasn’t specified whether or not Amazon is planning multiple sized tablets, or a tablet and a new Android-powered eReader, although there’s some speculation that a smartphone could be in the works too. It’s no secret that the company is working on at least one tablet. Earlier this week Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, said “stay tuned” for more information on the product, which is rumored to have been manufactured by Samsung and could launch as early as this summer. However, Android and Me disputes those claims and believes the devices will land closer to the holiday season. Either way, it certainly makes sense for at least one Amazon tablet to exist: the firm has already launched its Unbox movie and TV streaming service, Amazon’s Cloud Player and Cloud Drive for music and data storage, and Kindle for books, all of which fit perfectly on a tablet. More →
Stop. Collaborate and listen… Apple’s online web store is down. Blog 9to5 Mac, is reporting that new, Sandy Bridge quad-core iMacs are due later this morning. Furthermore, the site states that the new all-in-one desktop will come in four standard configurations: 21.5-inch, 2.7 GHz quad-core; 27-inch, 2.7 GHz quad-core; 27-inch, 3.1 GHz quad-core; and 27-inch, 3.4 GHz quad-core. The two 27-inch units will ship with the AMD 6770M graphics card while the two 3+ GHz models will ship with a AMD 6970M card; all units will come standard with 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. We should find out later this morning if Apple has anything else up its sleeve. More →
Keeping up with the white iPhone 4 saga over the past few months? Well, you’ll be happy it’s all coming to a close this Wednesday. With that said, if you’re completely strung out and waiting for a white iPhone 4 32GB unit, you might be in for a rough come down. We have got a hold of an internal AT&T UPS shipping invoice which clearly details that 20 white iPhone 4 16GB devices are destined for a specific AT&T store. Unfortunately, there are no 32GB units that are incoming. So sad.
In a recent blog post, Nokia reaffirmed its commitment to the Windows Phone ecosystem by offering us a glimpse at what is to come. The company’s CEO, Stephen Elop, has noted that Nokia has “shifted from a mode of developing” its strategy to one of “putting that strategy into action.” Part of the Finnish phone giants plans involve bringing some of Nokia’s strengths to all members of the Windows Phone family, and one of the most exciting Symbian ports will definitely be Ovi Maps. “Nokia will supply mapping and location-based services for the Windows Phone ecosystem, building on the success it’s experienced with Ovi Maps,” reads the blog post. The company also notes that a “Nokia-branded application store” will be present on the company’s Windows Phone hardware. The CEO also went on to say that Nokia is hard at work in the hardware department, and quipped that his company would “define some of the future disruptions in our market.” More →
According to Peter Kafka over at All Things D, Apple’s presumed cloud-based music service will not be all that dissimilar from Amazon’s. The report details that Apple, like Amazon, will allow iTunes users to store newly purchased tracks and already-owned digital music in an online locker. Unlike Amazon, however, the Cupertino company is looking for deals with major record labels.“They’ve been very aggressive and thoughtful about it,” said an industry executive speaking with Kafka. “It feels like they want to go pretty soon.” The report also notes that the industry buy-in and licensing will allow Apple to store a single, master copy of a digital music file on its services and share that file with authorized users — making the company’s storage schema much more streamlined. Amazon’s Cloud Drive implementation is based on its S3 storage service and functions more like a cloud-based hard drive — every time a user buys a track it’s uploaded to that specific users online locker. “Sources tell me that Apple has already procured deals from at least two of the big four labels (Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony and EMI) within the last two months,” writes Kafka. “One source tells me Apple content boss Eddy Cue will be in New York tomorrow to try to finalize remaining deals.” Apple has some experience with cloud-based services as it has offered its MobileMe service — formerly iTools and .Mac — since early 2000.
UPDATE: CNET is now reporting that Apple and Warner Music Group reached a deal this afternoon: “Apple has an agreement with Warner Music Group to offer the record label’s tracks on iTunes’ upcoming cloud-music service.” More →
As enraged as you may or may not be over the fact that your phone is tracking your location, you have to admit… it’s a pretty interesting story. The Wall Street Journal has filed a new report stating that both Apple and Google are collecting location data from their smartphone users — deflecting some of the public outrage in Google’s direction as well. “According to new research by security analyst Samy Kamkar, an HTC Android phone collected its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour,” writes the Journal. Researcher Mike Castleman has developed a program that will harvest and parse location data stored on your Android device. The script isn’t quite as user-friendly as its iOS counterpart — you need root access to your device and some command line experience (as opposed to just clicking on a pretty icon and seeing your coordinates on a map) — but it will present you with a formatted location list. Castleman notes that the code used to collect location is “no longer open from Google” and that the data collected gets “pruned” when new location information is added. “Following the latest days internet outrage/overreaction to the revelation that iPhone has a cache for its location service, I decided to have look what my Android devices caches for the same function,” Castleman writes. If you’re interested in trying to squeeze the location information from your Android handset, hit the jump. The necessary links are waiting for you. More →
Research In Motion’s first QNX-powered device — the BlackBerry PlayBook — will be hitting a plethora of retailers beginning next month, and Office Depot has officially thrown its proverbial hat into the ring. Via a press release, the retailer has announced that beginning April 19th customers can purchase the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB PlayBooks for $499, $599, and $699 respectively. “Office Depot provides customers with the most innovative lineup of products that will help them take care of business, and the BlackBerry PlayBook is certainly one of those game-changing products,” said Randy Wick, the company’s Vice President of Merchandising. “There has been a lot of buzz and excitement for the BlackBerry PlayBook to hit the market, and we are thrilled to be one of the first retailers to offer this professional-grade tablet.” RIM’s first tablet venture will be available at Office Depot’s retail stores and online at officedepot.com. The full press release is after the break. More →