This week was Nexus week, and Google’s new smartphone and tablet dominated the past seven days’ international Android news. The Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 went on sale, and promptly sold out in Australia, Europe and the United States, as buyers battled against technical issues with Google Play and Google Wallet and attempted to place orders. As of this weekend, many devices are in buyers hands — the first Nexus tablets started arriving on Wednesday, followed a day later by the initial batch of Nexus 4s.
If you grabbed an Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7, or have one on it’s way, keep an eye on the lockscreen offers for a chance to get $5 free credit at the Amazon mp3 store. I ran across this one last night while playing a movie or two, and just had to share the news.
One of the few negative points with the Nexus 7 for some, is the lack of any sizable on-board storage. Indeed, looking at a couple of the latest big name game titles such as Max Payne or the Amazing Spider Man further compounds the frustration. With games going well in excess of 1GB — and even approaching 2GB – there isn’t a great deal of room left for music and videos.
As the company’s court battles with major music label EMI Group, file-sharing service MP3tunes was forced to file for bankruptcy in a United States court earlier this week, Reuters reports. Mp3tunes, which bills itself as “a Music Service Provider (MSP) and the home of MP3tunes Locker: the only secure, online music space to feature unlimited listening,” is one of a number of online services targeted by major labels and the MPAA for allegedly facilitating the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials; Megaupload was shuttered earlier this year after authorities raided the home of company founder Kim Dotcom, who was arrested and now awaits trial. A federal judge ruled in 2011 that MP3tunes and its CEO, Michael Robertson, did not violate the Digital Millenium Copyright Act when they allowed users to download music from the service, except as pertaining to music files that were identified as having been pirated. The judge also said that Robertson was personally liable for a number of pirated songs downloaded from other file-sharing services and hosted by MP3tunes. The case is still pending.
Google is reportedly breaking out its massive checkbook in an effort to gain blanket rights to major labels’ music catalogs. Following unconfirmed reports that Google’s music offering was floundering and losing users each week, music industry insider Wayne Rosso says that the Internet giant is now holding negotiations with at least one major label in an effort to gain access to its entire catalog. According to Rosso, Google is willing to spend more than $1 billion for such access.
It has been a few weeks now since we last delved into music apps, with a smattering of app picks from the rock music world. This time up, it’s the turn of country music. Personally, I am a huge Johnny Cash fan — you might just have picked that one up already.
Microsoft will be killing off two well-known brands with the upcoming Consumer Preview release of Windows 8, according to The Verge. The software giant has removed Windows Live applications and has replaced the software with its Windows Communications suite. Windows 8 will remove the “Live” name from its mail, calendar and photos applications as well, with “Live Contacts” simply being renamed “People.” Microsoft Account will replace Windows Live ID as well, and the company will be removing any references to Zune from its Windows Store, music and video applications. Microsoft’s Xbox team will reportedly be creating and managing Metro style video and music applications within the operating system, with “Xbox Live for Windows” becoming the primary entertainment hub for music, video and games in Windows 8.
Apple may be working on an overhaul of its iTunes Store and App Store, according to 9to5Mac. Due to growing competition from music streaming services like Spotify and the growing popularity of Amazon’s online music store, the redesign of the iTunes Store is considered “a top priority for Apple.” The Cupertino-based company is looking to simplify the service and deliver a more user-friendly interface than the one afforded by its current design. The redesign will reportedly simplify content discovery, and it will “make the iTunes Store a much more engaging experience.” The revamped stores are reportedly scheduled to launch later this year.
Nokia on Monday officially took the wraps off a white version of its Lumia 800 Windows Phone. Nokia originally launched the device in black and cyan, and the white version adopts a gloss finish instead of the matte coloring of the other models. Nokia says the device will be made available later this month. “Since we began selling it late last year, the Nokia Lumia 800 has received rave reviews around the world,” said Ilari Nurmi, Vice President of Product Marketing, Nokia. “Now in white, the Lumia 800 brings with it an even more premium look and feel with its gloss finish, but packed with power and performance underneath its sleek body.” Nokia’s full press release follows after the break.
Pure Music’s Spotify challenging subscription service has been on the horizon now for a couple of months. The service has now gone live, offering users in the UK unlimited music streaming for a very reasonable £4.99 a month. There is also of course an Android application that goes along with the service.
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