News by Andrew Kameka on Monday September 09, 2013.
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Microsoft has brought its Xbox Music streaming beyond the confines of Windows Phone 8 and expanded availability to Android and iPhone customers looking to stream their music across all platforms. Announced nearly a year ago, Xbox Music delivers millions of songs that subscribers can listen to on-demand on several devices. The music streaming service works on the web, Xbox gaming consoles, Windows 8, Windows Phone, and now Android and iOS.
It's an encouraging sign to see Microsoft bring its music streaming service to multiple platforms, something Apple and Google seem disinterested in doing. Apple has no incentive to expand iTunes on mobile beyond its own iOS devices, and Google Play Music was supposed to arrive on iOS months ago and has yet to appear. Microsoft's smaller position in the mobile market and overall business plan of being everywhere requires that the company be more cosmopolitan with Xbox Music services.
Xbox Music isn't uniform in its feature availabilities, however. Android and iOS users can listen to their custom playlists and tailored music library, but the Pandora-style artist-based radio feature available on Windows Phone 8 is not yet available on Android. Artist stations are available on iOS. There's also no option to download music so songs can be played offline. Offline playback is an important feature to have to ensure that songs can still be played when traveling in areas with weak or no cellular reception, and it's also a smart way to cut back on data allowances if there's space to store music on the device. Thankfully, Microsoft says that feature is "coming soon" to Android and iOS.
At the moment, Xbox Music still offers the basics of what makes a good streaming music service. Options include:
- Streaming music with advertisements
- Creating personalized playlists that are synchronized across devices
- Millions of songs with search and artist or album info
- Discover new artists and music through the Related tab
Xbox Music is now available for Android and iOS. The Android app requires Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or later and the iOS version requires iOS 6 or later.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.