Think that a new user interface and built-in support for devices with larger display sizes are the only draws that Honeycomb has to offer for the Android lovers out there? Well, it seems that Google has got one more ace up its sleeve in ensuring that the latest version of its mobile operating system has got what it takes to go toe-to-toe against the likes of iOS. How does an iTunes-esque music service for Android sound like to you?
Well, that sure took Google long enough. Apparently, in its quest to wrestle market share over from the likes of iOS, RIM, Symbian and Windows Mobile, the search giant has placed too much focus into improving the usability of its Android operating system and neglecting a key aspect about such mobile platform: music. That's right: while Windows Phone 7, Symbian and iOS users get services such as Zune, Ovi and iTunes to play with, it would seem odd that Google is the only odd player in the group that still does not have its own music service for users to sync and purchase audio tracks from.
Fortunately, it appears that someone in Google had finally noticed the absence of such a service from the Android ecosystem and taken action to silently plug up the hole in Google's offering of online services. And of course, all it needed was a simple slip of the tongue from Motorola's CEO to reveal the fact that Google does indeed have a music service planned for a certain future build of Android that a certain tablet will be making use of.
Speaking at this year's Mobile World Conference held at Barcelona, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha all but gave away the secret when he talked about the services that the upcoming Motorola Xoom tablet will be able to offer consumers.
"If you look at Google Mobile services [via Android] today, there's a video service, there's a music service – that is, there will be a music service."
According to Jha, Google's music service for Android will be operating system-dependant, although he did mention that the version of Android Honeycomb that will be pre-installed into the Motorola Xoom will come with support for the new service.This would suggest that the new 'Google Music' service is likely to form an integral part of the default Honeycomb user experience when the new operating system is finally released for public consumption.
Unfortunately, this also leaves a key question about backward compatibility about the new 'Google Music' service unanswered. While it is no doubt good news that Honeycomb might come bundled with the means to access the new music service, one must not forget that there are countless other Android-powered devices in the market today that are still running off older versions of the mobile operating system. And if the 'operating sytem-dependant' part of the service means that older Android builds will never have access to Google's upcoming online music service…well, let's just say that Google's PR team might want to start preparing itself for a very eventful year ahead when Honeycomb launches.