By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
San Francisco — Google announced plans to offer its own version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and launched its first music-streaming service.
The company’s version of the S4 will run Android 4.2 and feature a Google-designed user experience, the company said here at its developers’ conference. Through its Google Play store, the company will offer the unlocked S4 beginning June 26 at $649. The LTE-equipped phone will operate on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks.
The phone will ship with 16GB of embedded memory and unlocked boot-loader. The company promised prompt system updates with every platform update.
In launching its first streaming-music service today in the U.S., Google beat Apple to the market. Google priced its Google Play Music All Access subscription service at $9.99/month with 30-day free trial. Users who subscribe before June 30 get it for $7.99/month.
Through the service, users stream millions of songs from Google’s catalog, get personalized recommendations, view featured playlists, and select streams by 22 top-level genres through which they can select curated playlists, select top and key albums to play, and tap on a song to immediately create a “radio station” playing a mix of related tracks. Users will be able to see the names of upcoming songs and swipe away the ones they don’t want to hear. Users can also reorder tracks in the radio station’s playlist.
A My Library feature combines personal music uploaded to the Cloud with recently streamed songs.
The service, described as “radio without rules,” can be accessed on Android phones and tablets and via a PC’s web browser.
The service will be rolled out to other countries at an unspecified date.
Google already offers a music-download service and ability to upload user-stored songs to the Cloud for streaming to mobile devices and PCs.
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