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Android's next generation of apps reveal Google cloud music service

A new Android music player offers our first glimpse of Google's planned cloud music service. The feature isn't turned on, but you can try the new player on your phone now.

A new Android music player offers our first glimpse of Google's planned cloud music service. The feature isn't turned on, but you can try the new player on your phone now.

The new music player is one of several new apps spotted in a new version of the Android Market. The new-look software has been leaked and is yet to be officially announced, so it's not final, but confirms that Google is indeed planning a service to stream music from the Web to your phone.

New touch controls allow you to change the music player's settings by tapping the screen as you listen. Tap a song's name and it leaps into a playlist. Tap the album art and you'll shuffle or repeat tracks, but that sounds kind of counter-intuitive to us -- what has album art got to do with looping or shuffling?

The tabs on the main screen are now touch-controlled with a swipe, so you can whip a fingertip across the screen to switch between artists, album, songs and playlists. There's a screen showing tracks you've recently listened to, and improved landscape views that make it easier to browse through your music too.

The new player shows up in a new version of the Android Market. The music app comes built-in on Android phones, and is a phone-sized version of the tablet-sized player built into Honeycomb, the tablet version of Android.

Cloud-based music players are all the rage at the moment. Amazon Cloud Player streams your music to your Android phone for free, and Sony's Music Unlimited Qriocity service is about to start streaming tunes to assorted Sony Ericsson phones.

New-look camera, clock and gallery apps are also included. If you want to try the new apps on your Android phone, Droid Life has the .apk files to download -- but install at your own risk, remember to back up everything first, and bear in mind the apps may not work on your model of phone.