[yahoo] A new music application from European music service Spotify is attracting attention at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. The app, for devices using Google's Android open-source mobile platform, allows a user to search, browse and stream music.
Spotify released a video at the conference and on YouTube that displays the app, which enables a user to wirelessly sync playlists on an Android device with a PC and listen to cached music offline.
'New Way to Enjoy Music'
The popular Spotify service is reportedly preparing to launch the service in the U.S., as well as into a variety of devices -- including connected game machines. On its Web site, it describes the service as "a new way to enjoy music," offering "no restrictions in terms of what you can listen to or when." The service offers legal and free access to a large music library, backed by advertising. Many of the songs can also be purchased by users in the U.K., France and Spain.
Sonal Gandhi, an analyst with industry research firm Forrester, said the music service "is surprisingly very successful in the U.K." One reason, she said, is that the proposition is simple for people to understand.
Third-party music applications for phones have been steadily emerging, Gandhi pointed out, of which Pandora's is the best known. Others include Imeem, Last.fm and Clear Channel. As they proliferate, she noted, more users are listening to music from their phones.
The availability of the Spotify application for Google's Android could affect Apple's reign as the leading music provider over the Internet. Meanwhile, the pace of Android adoption is picking up. Andy Rubin, Google's director of mobile platforms, told the I/O conference that 18-20 Android phones will be on the market this year, beyond the two currently available, both made by device maker HTC.
A Developer Challenge
And as more Android devices emerge, Google is adding to developer incentives with the second Android Developer Challenge, which was announced at the I/O conference.
The installed base is the biggest incentive for Android app developers, and it may soon get a big boost as the world's largest mobile device market, China, gets into the game. Earlier this week, Peter Chou, head of HTC, told The Wall Street Journal that his company will be working with China Mobile, the largest mobile-phone operator in the world, to offer a version of the HTC Magic smartphone in that country next month.
As the only major vendor that has so far released Android-based phones, the move by Taiwan-based HTC into China could have a substantial impact on the growth of the Google-backed open-source platform. And it could provide an unprecedented opportunity for a major mobile music service to take hold on a growing platform.
Spotify App Streams Music To Android-Based Devices