Google unveils movie rentals, Music Beta for AndroidAlex Wagner - Senior News Editor
Following up on Google's announcement of Android 3.1 and Ice Cream Sandwich earlier this morning, the folks from Mountain View also unveiled a couple of new media services for use with Android. First up is the ability to rent movies directly from the Android Market. Pricing starts at $1.99, although most newer movies look like they'll set you back $3.99, and users will be able to rent movies for 30 days and will have 24 hours to finish watching a rented film. There's also the option to "pin" a rented movie, which will download a film in the background for viewing when there's no Internet connection available. You can check out the movie selection right now over at the web version of the Android Market, and users of Android 3.1 will be getting the feature today while anyone on Android 2.2 or higher on a phone will get it in a few weeks.
For those of you music lovers out there, Google also announced Music Beta, which will be launching today in an invite-only beta (obviously) form. Users will be able to upload up to 20,000 songs for free, at least initially, and will be available as a part of the updated Music app on Android smartphones running Android 2.2 or higher. It can also be used on a browser with any Mac or PC, although Flash is required. Playlist support is also included, and the service can even create a playlist for you based on similar-sounding songs, sort of like the Genius Playlist feature in iTunes. Additionally, users can choose to cache some of their music on their device for offline listening. Best of all is the fact that your music is tied to your Google account, meaning when you get a new handset, all of your music will be available after signing in with your Google credentials. If you're interested in the Music Beta, you can learn more and request an invite right here, and there's also a video of the service embedded below for your viewing pleasure.
We've been hearing about Google's Music service for a while now and, it's kind of surprising that it's taken this long for it to finally arrive, but I'm glad to see that it's finally here. Although I'm sure some folks will be bummed that there's no way to actually buy music using Google's service, the fact that users can upload 20,000 songs with no size limit is pretty awesome, especially since it's all free during the beta. Of course, it won't be beta forever, so it'll be interesting to see how Google prices the storage options when the free period is up. So, who's excited about renting movies and checking out the Music Beta?