Google has unveiled a raft of new services and updates for its Android mobile platform, including opportunities for app developers, as it seeks to improve its offerings in the increasingly competitive mobile market.
As part of the company’s annual I/O conference, it was announced that Google TV will now be updated to a new OS so developers can start building apps, while Android users will now be able to rent movies on their smartphones.
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The availability of apps for Google TV means developers will be enticed to build more apps for the service.
Google TV product manager Rishi Chandra says: “We plan to bring developers tools for building applications specifically for the TV and living room, and we plan to bring Android Market to Google TV, so consumers can download thousands of applications to their TVs.”
Meanwhile, Google’s new services include the release of a new music system, which allows users to stream music to their smartphones.
The company also announced Google Music Beta, a new cloud-based service that will allow users to listen to their music on any computer and Android smartphone.
Users will download a new Music Beta profile before uploading music files and playlists. They can then access their music from any other computer and Android smartphone.
“With the new service, your music and playlists are automatically kept in sync, so if you create a new playlist on your phone, it’s instantly available on your computer or tablet,” Google says.
Music Beta listeners will also be able to listen to their music while offline, as Google will store the most recently played music on the Android device. The service will also allow users to make specific albums or playlists available at any one time.
Google says this will eliminate the need for storage space, especially as users can upload 20,000 songs each.
At this stage, Google is only releasing the services in the United States, which means Australian consumers will miss out. Furthermore, the service is currently by invitation-only, although users can sign up at the official Google Music site.
Google also addressed the issue of fragmentation at the company’s I/O conference.
Currently, Android updates are rolled out carrier-by-carrier over wireless networks, leaving many users with different versions of the operating system.
This means app developers cannot just deliver updates for one operating system, as they do with Apple’s iOS, but have to cater for three or four at a time.
Australian app developers have continued to complain about this, arguing it is one of the reasons by Android penetration in Australia is so low compared to Apple’s products.
Google says it is working with carriers to ensure these updates are sent out faster and more efficiently.