Today, Amazon became the first player in the cloud music game with the announcement of its cloud-based music storage service known as Cloud Drive. The new offering will allow users to store up to 5GB of music in Amazon’s new, online locker and playback uploaded tracks via their Android smartphone, Android tablet, Mac, or PC.
In addition, users who purchase a complete album via Amazon’s MP3 store will automatically be upgraded to 20GB of storage, free of charge, and tracks purchased on Amazon are automatically uploaded to the cloud. In other words, purchased tracks do not count towards your storage quota. Nice.
Music isn’t the only digital thing you can store in your Cloud Drive. You can also upload photos and other files directly to it through the web interface. Seeing this you have to wonder what cloud storage based offering such as Dropbox are going to think about it. Although, you can’t share files or folders with other users. At least not yet.
You can play your stored music using the Cloud Player for Web or for Android devices. Not surprisingly, there’s no Cloud Player app for iOS devices. If you’re worried that 5GB of storage just won’t be enough for your music collection, extra storage can be had with plans starting at $20 per year.
The service is live now and the Cloud Player for Android is available in the Market. Click thorough for the full press release from Amazon.
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Late yesterday, everyone’s favorite social media website Facebook announced an update for their Android version of the Facebook app. This update brings the application to version 1.5, for those of you who keep track of that sort of thing.
Some of the main features of this update include support for Facebook chat (In both background and foreground) as well as the much requested Push notifications. Unfortunately, Push notifications will only work on devices running Android 2.2 or higher.
The update also includes the requisite other “bug fixes” which are, let’s face it, nice to have. Sadly, still no photo tagging in this update. But I guess you can’t have everything. . . yet.
As usual, the update is available in the Android Market. If you do update, let us know your experiences, good or bad, in the comments. Now to start updating our Android phones here at the office.
As an Android-powered phone user have you been jealous of your friends who get to enjoy reading comics on their iPhone or iPad? Well, time to feel better as comiXology has announced a Beta release of its industry-leading comics reader for Android.
The new beta is available in the Android marketplace and enables fans to read comics on devices running Android 2.1 or higher. The Comics by comiXology beta app gives users the ability to discover, purchase, and read more than 2,500 digital comics and over 300 free comics from 40 publishers.
Launch partners providing content for the app include DC Comics, Image Comics, Vertigo, Top Cow, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, Archie and many more. Users can search and browse through comics based on titles, creators, publishers, genre and ratings, and find local comic book retailers with the built-in retailer finder.
“Our enthusiastic community has been asking us for an Android app and it’s with great pleasure that we bring it to them in time for the holidays,” said David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology. “Comics by comiXology on Android delivers comic books to mainstream audiences on even more devices. Now, more people who want to read a comic will have the opportunity to do so, when and where they want, while giving our content partners another major distribution outlet.”
Comics downloaded to the Android app will be available on the iOS and Web version as well through cross-platform synchronization so users can enjoy comics purchased on all their devices. So, great news for Android users. Even better news when those Android-powered Tablets start arriving in quantity.
Late yesterday Google released an update to its Gmail Android application for smartphones. The update brings with it several bug fixes, improvements, and feature additions.
The biggest improvements/changes include enhanced priority inbox support, an improved compose email feature, and in-line rely responses. With priority inbox support, users can now see importance markers in the main message list and rank messages right from their device. That is if you actually use priority inbox.
The new compose feature will allows users to switch between reply, reply all, and forward while in the compose screen as well as set the outgoing account on the fly if they have more than one Gmail account on their devices. In-line message replies work similarly to how they work in the traditional Gmail interface.
The new Gmail application, which carries the designation of version 2.3.2, is available in the Android Market now. So far the update seems to be working fine on our test HTC Incredible. We’ll let you know if something breaks.
Good news for those of you currently using something other than an iPhone and in particular users of Android powered devices. Google has, in their infinite benevolence, updated the Gmail application for Android and has given it some new features and fixed a few bugs.
Some of these new and improved goodies include message actions sticking to the top of the screen while scrolling, view previous messages more easily like with the desktop client, performance boost for most features and limited support for Priority Inbox. Although, as someone who really didn’t take to Priority Inbox when it came to the desktop Gmail app, I’m not that excited about that particular part of the update.
Still, it’s nice to see that Google seems to be on top of it when it comes to improving the user experience on Android powered devices. With the recent (or pending for some of you) update to Android 2.2 (aka Froyo), Google seems to be on a path of improvement for its software. As an Android smartphone user, I couldn’t be happier about it.
The update is in the Android Market and available for all those running Android 2.2.
As an Android powered smartphone user, I’m aware that the best and/or most polished version of most applications usually exist for Apple’s iPhone first. Even though Android is gaining market share among smartphones (and may even eclipse the iPhone), developers concentrate a great deal of time and effort on making apps for Apple’s devices.
However, that doesn’t mean Android apps are completely forgotten. They do get made, made well and many are frequently updated. Case in point is the Facebook app for Android. Last night the app was updated to bring it more inline with its iPhone counterpart.
The update offers quite a few minor fixes as well as several major ones to the app’s homescreen. Some of the changes and improvements include:
• Post a status update or search for friends with just one click.
• New photo reel that enables easy viewing of photos and videos from friends in your News Feed.
• Draggable Notifications drawer where you can easily see if a friend posted a note on your wall, commented or liked a post or tagged you in a photo.
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