Google Music, retooled Market on agenda for Feb. 2?

Beyond Honeycomb and the Motorola Xoom, what does the Android team have up their sleeves?

Are Google Music and a revamped Android Market on the agenda for February 2? Google

Google has an Android-related event scheduled for tomorrow where the company promises "an in-depth look at Honeycomb, Android ecosystem news, and hands-on demos" of devices.

Though it's widely assumed that members of the press will get their first real-world impressions of Android 3.0 via the Motorola Xoom, things remain cloudy beyond that. To me, the intriguing part of the invitation is the mysterious and vague phrase of "Android ecosystem." What constitutes as an ecosystem in Google's eyes? My money is on the introduction of two new features: an enhanced Android Market and the introduction of Google Music.

As good as the Android Market has become over the last few years, there is still plenty of work left to do . After months of waiting, we're still anticipating features like YouTube integration and content ratings to arrive. Going back to May 2010, Google's Vic Gundotra demonstrated a desktop browser version of the Android Market, promising it would come with a future version of the platform. If there's ever been a time to kick these features off, it's now.

We've seen hints of a tablet-optimized versions of Gmail and Contacts in the previews of Honeycomb, so it would makes sense to debut a tablet-friendly version of Android Market as well. A larger screen would lend itself well to viewing YouTube videos internally without forcing users to open an additional application. The Motorola Xoom will be the first major tablet to feature a 10.1-inch screen, perfect for an updated Market with new options.

Along those lines, I think we may finally see the long-awaited desktop version of the Android Market. We recently learned that Google is not too happy with the sales of paid Android apps and is looking to improve the service. A full, browser-based client would certainly help for additional discovery and recommendation, ultimately leading to more purchases .

As part of Gundotra's demonstration of this new Market, we learned that Google would be getting into music services. AndroidAndMe's Taylor Wimberly points to recent changes in Google's internal structure that have Android lead Andy Rubin taking the helm of digital music. He believes that this reorganization is indicative of the bigger agenda coming out of Mountain View. Together with the help of a YouTube lawyer, Rubin is said to be working on securing the rights to music from four major labels.

It has been recently found that some users are noticing the option to sync their Google Music accounts on their Android phones. I don't believe the timing of this is coincidental. The stars have been slowly but surely aligning over a music distribution model. Getting content to and from Android devices should get significantly better starting tomorrow. CNET will be in attendance, bringing you first hand accounts of the Honeycomb event.

 

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