iOS has iTunes native to it, although there are a number of ways to get your iTunes library onto your Android phone none are truly native with an app that is designed for the device. Nokia (prior to the downward spiral that it’s currently riding) had the Ovi Store, now Android has Google Music. Although it’s still in Beta and will be for quite some time if their previous efforts in Gmail and currently Google Plus are anything to go by, Google Music is a really well thought out use of the cloud to really enable users to access their music.
- You can access your entire music collection (to a maximum of 20,000 songs) regardless of your phone or tablets storage capacity.
- There is free music available which you can choose as part of the activation process.
- The versatility of utilizing either the web interface or the mobile app is fantastic!
- Because you’re using your own music: You have to upload it all which takes days, perhaps weeks depending on the size of your collection.
- Using the streaming function requires you to have either WiFi Access or reliable 3G data stream to use the service.
- The Music Manager program doesn’t offer much control, it’s essentially a transport engine between your pc and the Google servers.
- The web interface has regular interval ads that simply play over the top of your music at system volume which can be quite startling if you’ve got the music turned down in the web interface.
If you follow Daniel, Matt, Lucas and myself on twitter you’d know that there are a few minor issues getting the Android App going on a phone in Australia, but you’d also know the solution! One you jump this small hurdle you’ll fine an easy to use interface with search functions and very easy linking to your Google account. It’s quite an intuitive app probably the only thing that annoys me about it is that when you hit the back button it doesn’t go back a step it backs out of the app to your home screen.
The web interface has a definite feel of iTunes about it, but it works! There’s a host of options for choosing your music; by artist, album, song name, random shuffle, playlists that you create, playlists that Google creates for you and the list goes on. You can change song and album details, you can remove songs from the web interface. It has been well thought out, however some of the menu options are a little obscure in their visual delivery so take some getting used to. Having deliberately tried this in the 3 major browsers (IE, Firefox and Chrome) I was not surprised at all to find that it is more responsive and reliable in Chrome.
That’s really all I can say if you’re using the app on your Android device, via a stream rather than caching. I found my battery life degraded at an alarming rate while streaming via either 3G or WiFi, Wifi being the lesser of the two evils there. Reducing my battery to just under 5 hours is fine for someone in my position who sits at a desk for the majority of the day and has plenty of electricity available for me to charge my phone. I’d strongly suggest if you’re planning on using this daily that you have a charger nearby as you’re likely to need to charge your phone by about lunch time if you, like me, listen to music for a good portion of the day.
Having used an iPhone previously for work, using the iPod function of that was not much better in the battery drain either so in an apples for apples comparison; see what I did there? The Android is holding it’s own!
As an Android user and certainly not being a fan of iTunes, I have found the Google Music Beta a fantastic advance in the use of Cloud storage and streaming capabilities. If you’re an Android user, a music lover and a geek at heart you’re probably chomping at the bit to get your hands on an invite to Google Music and rightly so. It’s been a very exciting experience playing with this, I look forward to seeing what they do with it next as it’s still in Beta and getting actively developed on a daily basis.
A final caution though: If you’re a heavy listener of music you’re going to chew through some bandwidth on this one though to make sure you enable “Stream only when on Wifi” in the settings or you could be in for a very nasty shock at the end of the month. There’s no information at this time suggesting that the Australian Mobile Carriers have any plans to adopt the US approach to unlimited mobile data each month so definitely approach this one with caution and monitor your 3G data usage carefully!
I’m currently attempting to get my hands on some more invites to make them available via the Ausdroid Twitter soon, so watch this space!
Until then: Rock on friends