Google took us further into the digital media future with some compelling announcements at the fourth annual Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco this week. Recent Google I/O keynotes seem silly in retrospect — both Google Wave and Buzz were epic busts. But this year Google narrowed its focuses to it’s strengths, namely the Android mobile operating system and the Chrome browser and operating system. The gist was this: Use Google’s web-based tools and applications, combine with seemingly infinite storage space in the cloud, and bulky hard drives and desktop PC’s will become mere artifacts of our technological evolution. A Google account combined with a device running Android or Chrome OS will be all you need to do [almost] anything.
Google officially announced its long-rumored streaming-from-the-cloud music app for Android and the web at Google i/o at Moscone Center in San Francisco. It’s currently free (it is in beta after all) — request an invite at music.google.com. No comment on whether or not Google has come any closer to offering streaming legally, as licensed by the labels and publishers. Another exciting announcement — you can now rent videos on Android Market at http://market.android.com/movies. You have 30 days to stream each rental via web or mobile tablet or phone ($1.99 – $3.99 per rental).
In other news from the opening keynote: To date there have been:
* 100M Android activations
* 400,000 daily activations on 215 carriers
* 200,000 available apps on Market
* 2 years to 1 billion app installs
* 5 more months to 2 billion
* now 4.5 billion app installs from Android Market
Honeycomb 3.1 coming soon to all devices
Ice Cream Sandwich – new Android OS – 2.4 – coming soon
…and all 5,000 attendees at Google I/O are receiving the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet (a special-edition model, a month before it hits stores)!
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Last Friday Spotify rolled out an ambitious software upgrade, making its biggest charge yet in both monetizing its platform and putting the heat on Apple’s iTunes.
The big news: Sweden-based streaming music application Spotify is now selling downloads: $1.29 for one; or purchase 15 downloads for $0.87 each, 40 at $0.63 per, or 100 downloads at $0.50/track. The mp3s are delivered via a partnership with UK-based 7digital.