Tech Alert: Google Play adds ‘Music’

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I’m not quite sure exactly when this happened, but today I noticed that my Google Play app now lists ‘music’ as one of its many options (in addition to Apps, Books and Movies).

A closer inspection reveals that together with the free player app (available as a separate download), I can now search for, play samples and of course, buy music, and then play MP3s on my Android phone. It looks like that any purchased music is held in the cloud (so no worries about phone storage issues – but the the device will obviously need an internet connection), whilst the app also picks up all the stored music on the phone as well.

Tech Alert No. 977: “Phone me some music”

OK, so here’s the challenge. You’ve got a lovely up-to-date smartphone and you’ve managed to put a load of MP3s on it. Up ‘til now you’ve been very happy listening to your tunes through some ear-buds or headphones. For many, that’s all that’s required for a great musical experience.

Trouble is, some of us (of a certain age), have probably also got a good sound system at home with some nice speakers attached. Now, wouldn’t it be good if you could connect up your smartphone to your hi-fi and play your tunes that way – wouldn’t that just be the perfect marriage of old and new technology working seamlessly together?

As Thomas Magnum used to say: “I know what you’re thinking…”. ‘A degree in Electronic Engineering’, ‘miles of ugly cabling’ and ‘an afternoon behind the amp trying to recall what-goes-where’. Err, No!

Step forward the rather tongue-twisty: Logitech Wireless Speaker Adaptor for Bluetooth Audio Devices available from those nice people at Amazon and costs just £25. It’s a small black-box about the size of  an iPod Classic. It has just three audio sockets on the back – twin phonos and a jack-plug. It’s mains powered and has a single button on the top. That’s it… very minimalist.

LogitechBluetoothWirelessSpeakerAdaptor

Getting it working was ‘simples’. Set the smartphone’s Bluetooth setting to ‘discoverable’, plug the black-box into the mains, press the ‘connect’ button on the top and within 30 seconds or so, the two should be taking to each other. In fact, I didn’t even need to add in the suggested four-digit pin to pair them – they just connected.

Last of all, use the connecting cable to plug the black-box into your sound system. It doesn’t have to be a hi-fi, it could be anything that’s got an external sound input socket on the back.

The result? A very convenient way to control music with the added convenience that the volume button on the phone controls the volume of the music coming out of the speakers. A couple of of sticky pads on the back and the device is now conveniently out of sight in the lounge.

Best £25 I’ve spent this year!
Smile