As we get closer and closer to the Annual Android Handset Giving Period commonly known by many as Christmas, another week of Android news grows to a close. This week has brought a number of new stories, including reports that YouTube are delaying their streaming music service, the news that Chrome apps could be coming to Android as early as January and more information about Google’s mysterious barges that first hit our headlines last month. Let’s take a look!
Unless you’re a radio producer, the days of needing dedicated voice recorders are long behind us. Mobile phones and tablets have built-in microphones that are perfectly acceptable for private use in listening back on interviews, meetings, lectures, or random musings. And they even tend to do alright nowadays with music at concerts.
But to get good-quality audio, you still need to do some tweaking. And there are apps for that. I’ve searched high and low for the best advanced audio recording apps, all of which include powerful features that help you get the sound just right. If you only want to record quick voice memos, these will all be overkill, but for the professionals who need clear, crisp audio on a budget, they might be just the ticket.
Whether I’m working or relaxing, tuning in or tuning out, music is a constant in my daily routine. As is typical of a library-based listener, my soundtrack is a mix of old favourites and newer additions, but usually, nothing absolutely fresh flows through my speakers or earphones. Once in a while, though, I break this mould.
There are several routes which new music takes on its way to my eardrums. I listen to local commercial radio, for example. Radio stations will always provide a wider scope of tracks than my iTunes library, but the variety of broadcast playlists can be a little too random — which is why I’ve also long used Last.fm. As a taste-based recommendation engine, it is as close to human as an automated platform can currently be. However, this intelligence can actually hinder the finding of newness. Presenting me with clones of the music I already like isn’t going to improve the breadth of my listening experience.
A new app named MPme Radio wants to find a happy medium between these polar opposites, marrying the unexpectedness of radio with the predictability of an intelligent recommendation engine. Given that this app relies on the content provided by third-party broadcasters, though, is a middle-ground nirvana really possible?
It’s not often that I use an app that makes me feel like I’ve been on a journey to another place or another planet. It’s even rarer that I use an app that subjugates my entire brain, seemingly grasping it within some sort of odd control that I don’t understand. As I write this, I’m having problems focusing. Oddly melodic strings of notes bounce and roll through my brain and flashes of lights and stars keep whirring by when I should be focused on my laptop monitor.
In other words, I just played Biophilia, the most wonderfully bizarre and inventively original app I think I’ve ever used. Set to Björk’s music and based upon her latest album release (also called Biophilia), the sort-of-but-not-quite-a-game actually brings you to a completely different place in your imagination. It’s one I can’t shake. Read on to find out what makes Biophilia the must-purchase, must-try, must-play app of the year.
As far as I’m concerned, there are too many ways to listen to music these days. Part of the problem is that most of us have way too many devices, and they don’t all cooperate. My Apple devices have iTunes, and I love iTunes, but Android obviously doesn’t. So while my iTunes library sits at about 10,000 songs, I have zero access to it from my Android devices. [Ed note: unless you use iSyncr to sync files between iTunes and Android.]
My $10/month subscription to Rdio helps assuage some of those concerns. After matching my iTunes collection to what’s available on the popular streaming service, it’s easy for me to stream almost all of my music to my Nexus 4 or Nexus 7 whenever I need it. Not only that, but I can check out new music without paying extra fees and I can manage my playlists from my mobile devices with ease. Maybe you don’t already have an Rdio subscription but your Android phone is your main music device. Is the Android Rdio app worth the subscription fee?
A while back I did a roundup of Multimedia App for Android Tablets. You may have noticed that missing from that list were music apps, but fear not; I have not forgotten about music apps — as a matter of fact I love music. There are so many great music apps for Android tablets that instead of lumping them in with other multimedia apps, we decided to dedicate a roundup strictly to them. Here, we’re going to look at streaming, discovery, syncing, and even playing apps that work very well on your Nexus 7, 10 or other Android tablet.
In the modern digital age, media is king. Whether it’s music blaring out of speakers, photos being styled and shared, movies and TV shows on demand, or the online video craze – we are all consuming entertainment at a mind-boggling rate, on an ever-growing number of devices.
iTunes is one of the most popular platform for organizing and collecting media, and for good reasons – it gets the job done, and it is backed by a goliath of an online store. It does have its limitations, though. If you want to stream media from your iTunes library, you’re going to need an iOS device. I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, here, that’s not going to suit you.
An alternative streaming system worth considering is Plex. Once you’ve set up a Plex media server on your Windows, OSX, or Linux computer, you can stream content to nearly any smart mobile device via Plex’s app. Unfortunately, there are times when streaming doesn’t cut it, either because you are restricted by a data cap, or because wi-fi isn’t available. For this kind of problem, Plex offers a syncing service (part of the PlexPass subscription), which, when combined with its beta Plex for PlexPass Android app, allows you to download media to your Android device, with ease.
Or, at least, that is the claim – but can media management really be that simple? Time for a test…
Last week we gave you some advice on how to keep your data, email, contacts and calendar perfectly synced between your Android phone or tablet and an iOS device. Although these are essential elements to synchronize between your devices, replicating media from your iPad or iPhone to your Android device — and vice-versa — can also prove very useful.
Indeed, whether you run out of battery, lose your phone or prefer to use a larger screen, you shouldn’t have to worry about manually transferring your content to every single device you have. To make this chore seamless and transparent for you, we’ve selected a handful of apps and tools that will automate the process.
With the rise of the Internet, most people have turned to online music solutions, causing many radio stations to lose a significant amount of their audience. In addition to downloading songs on iTunes, on-demand streaming services, such as Spotify, Deezer and Grooveshark, have grown very popular by letting you listen to virtually any track on your mobile phone, provided you pay a monthly subscription.
While these services are very convenient, radios are essentially different in the sense that they play a specific genre without allowing you to make your own playlist. Pandora has tried to recapture this analogue radio concept of letting you pick the genre but not the songs, as it automatically generates playlists based on an artist, genre or composer you select. Songza takes the concept even further: instead of asking you to pick a genre or an artist first, it analyzes context and suggests playlists accordingly.
The wonderful thing about playing guitar is that you don’t need sheet music — or even know how to read sheet music — in order to learn your favorite songs. Tablature’s clear one-to-one translation to the strings and finger positions democratizes the instrument that has dominated popular music for much of the past century.
Even better, hundreds of thousands of other guitarists worldwide write and share their interpretations online, providing vast repositories of tabs that give you a head start on just about any published song — popular or obscure.
If you want to tap into this hive mind on your phone or tablet, you could make do with a web browser or text editor…or you could grab an app like GuitarTapp Pro.