Music Beta for Android announced and launched

Google has just announced and launched its new online cloud based music stream service called Music Beta. This new Zune Pass rival for Android powered devices and PCs has quite a few features that I wouldn’t mind having on windows Phone or other platforms (iOS). The most important one being the ability to upload all of your music library to the cloud and access it from any connected PC / Mac or Android handsets (maximum 20,000 songs). I’m really surprised that Microsoft still hasn’t done something similar with Zune and Skydrive yet.

Once your music is in the cloud you will be able to stream it on the go if you are connected to a network (cellular data or WiFi) or listen to the last songs you have previously listened to in offline mode (the player will automatically cache and recently played songs on the device).

Check out the video presentation of the Music Beta by Google service below:

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Verizon HTC Trophy dummy spotted at Best Buy

The launch of the Verizon’s first Windows Phone 7 handset can only be imminent now that dummy HTC 7 Trophy phones have been spotted in retail shops (Best Buy). The CDMA Trophy recently appeared on Verizon’s website but the company has yet to officially announce its availability even though every carrier in the world already offers at least one WP7 handset. Remember that Verizon is the biggest android carrier in the US and has just started to sell the iPhone 4 so don’t expect to see them heavily promote this device.

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Google fights Android fragmentation: Partners with carriers and OEMs to guarantee updates

Google just announced  during the Google IO keynote that it has partnered with OEMs and carriers to fight fragmentation and guarantee updates. This is probably the most important news of this year’s Google IO conference (IMO). The OEMs and Carriers seen above will guarantee timely updates to the latest version of the OS for a period of 18 months after a device is released (if the device’s hardware allows it).

Update: Unfortunately, Andy Rubin, who was questioned about this matter during the post-keynote Q&A session, said that nothing is set in stone yet. It is now starting to look like this announcement was nothing more than a PR move to create some buzz. The full details of this new “update guarantee” have yet to be finalized between all the partners

Google announces Android Ice Cream sandwich and Q4 2011 release

Google has just announced the next version of Android named Ice Scream Sandwich scheduled to be released in Q4 2011. This new version of the mobile os will run on tablets and smartphones: This will effectively merge Gingerbread and Honeycomb into one single OS. Stay tuned for more info. This newer version will include features like, voice recognition coupled with  face tracking, new application framework and holographic UI (first introduced in Honeycomb).

Microsoft acquires Skype for $8.5 Billion

Microsoft has officially announced today that it’s planning to acquire Skype for an estimated $8.5 Billion in cash. This is undoubtedly a big move to prevent Google and Facebook from acquiring the most successful VOIP service currently on the market. What does it mean for Windows Phone ? Well, not much in the short term. The official Skype application is still going to come out this fall alongside Mango and Skype is most probably still going to be available on most platforms (update: this is confirmed in the press release).

Microsoft already has several VOIP offerings: Lync for business users (formerly Office Communicator) and also Windows Live Messenger. How will Skype fit into the company’s communication strategy is something that is yet unknown but having some sort of Skype + Messenger cross-branding / integration is probably the first thing that will come out of this deal.

Update: here’s the interesting part of the announcement:

Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.

Both companies have also just announced that Skype will now become a new Business division of Microsoft called “Microsoft Skype Division” Redmond already has all the tech so acquiring Skype isn’t really going to give them anything really new compared to what they already have besides the brand and mind-share / reach. But I wouldn’t be surprised if next year’s Windows Phone chassis feature a front facing camera though. Update: With this acquisition Microsoft is also buying Qik which was bought by Skype in January 2011.

Press release after the break:

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