By 7 March 2012 | Categories: news


In the digital age, apparently nothing is exempt from a strategic reboot, not even Google’s own Android Market.
The company announced that the Android Market is no more; instead its apps, games, music, books and movies will be available under its new Google Play.
On its blog, the company explained that Google Play was a digital entertainment destination where users can find, enjoy and share their favourite music, movies, books and apps on the web and on their Android-running smartphone or tablet.
“Google Play is entirely cloud-based so all your music, movies, books and apps are stored online, always available to you, and you never have to worry about losing them or moving them again,” elaborated the company.
Essentially, Google Play integrates Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore under the Google Play banner.
The Android Market app on Android devices will also be upgraded over the next few days to the Google Play Store app, while Google’s video, music and books apps will receive a similar upgrade to Google Play Movies, Google Play Music apps and Google Play Books (we’re curious to see what Research in Motion will have to say about the latter).
Curb your enthusiasm
The company stressed that the music, movies, books and apps users previously purchased will continue to be available to users through Google Play, via logging into to their existing Google account.
Google has touted the new offering as enabling users to store up to 20 000 songs for free and buy millions of new tracks, download more than 450 000 Android apps and games, browse a large selection of eBooks and rent thousands of movies, including new releases and HD titles.
The caveat, at least for South African users, is that it seems only some of these advantages will be on offer to certain regions.
For example, while the US will receive full availability of music, movies, books and Android apps, Canada and the UK will be able to access movies, books and apps; while Australia will only receive books and apps.
Disappointingly, the company alluded to ‘everywhere else’ (presumably including South Africa), instead experiencing Google Play as solely serving as the new home for Android apps.
Ray of light
However, one ray of light is a statement by Google that its “long-term goal is to roll out as many different types of content as possible to people around the world, and we’ll keep adding new content to keep it fresh.”
South African users can, however, take advantage of the celebratory seven days of sale, at least as far as Android apps are concerned, with a strong collection of apps currently available at discounted prices.  
To the point
While in certain regions, Google Play could easily be seen as more directly competing against Apple’s iTunes, its scope at this moment in time seems to change little for South African Android users. If however, Google lives up to its word and adds ebooks and music to its local offering, then the Android Market-Google Play name change will smell a great deal sweeter.
For the time being though, if nothing else, the announcement does bring with it this rather whimsical video illustrating the new offering:  


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