Will The Digital Download Be Dead … Soon?

Let me know what you think about this article I read in ABC News. While the iPod has come to symbolize the digital music age, it is iTunes that has allowed Apple to control the musical marketplace.

iTunes has a nice interface, it is easy to learn, and it is ubiquitous: it ships with every Mac, and it is one of the most downloaded Windows programs around (well … people are forced to anyway as it is the only medium to sync your iphone, itouch and ipods). Other companies may make great phones and music players, but they do not have the desktop software to sync your music, apps, and photos.

That is why Palm worked up a hack last year to connect its phones to iTune, and why Apple quickly shut down the workaround. So iTunes users are required to download music from iTunes then sync it to their music. That is how it goes. But pretty soon, the digital landscape may change.

Google Android phones already do lots of stuff wirelessly because the OS is tied to your Google account, most of your data flies over the Internet and you do not even need to plug the phone into your computer to upgrade its operating system (which you have to do with an iPhone).

Soon Android will be completely untethered. An upcoming version will let you buy apps and music from any computer: the files will then appear instantly on your phone. The best part, though, is that Android will let you play all the music on your computer without syncing your hard drive to your phone.

You can do this by installing a small app on your desktop that will send your music – whether it is in iTunes, Windows Media Player, or anywhere else – to the Internet. (This only works with non-copy-protected music, which means pretty much everything except audiobooks.) Once the files are online, your phone will have access to your entire music library whenever you’ve got an Internet connection.

Google always impresses me with their innovations. Apple does too, but lately, their arrogance has disappointed me. Their actions as of late resembles what Microsoft does. Closeness, rather then openness.

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