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Spotify for Android and Splash.fm Upgrade Mobile Music Options

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Solutions for high-tech and online music discovery continue to expand in new and novel ways, as evidenced by the recent release of two eye-catching apps.

Redesigned to offer a more attractive and user-friendly interface, Spotify's updated Android app takes advantage of the Android 4.0 operating system (OS) to let smartphone and tablet PC owners party harder with less work. Besides offering higher-resolution artist and album photos and suggesting related music, the software program also runs faster and provides a more intuitive sliding interface with folder organization that's better suited to touchscreens and motion controls.

Presently offered in preview form, the final release is downloadable from the Google Play app store and will further extend to the ability to view friends' Spotify profiles and access their playlists. Fans of the popular streaming music service may also appreciate support for Last.fm scrobbling, greater visibility for locally-downloaded playlists and slicker navigation that's more akin to that found in the app's iPhone cousin.

Billed as "the social way to discover and share music" (read: a novel alternative to Twitter that lets fans recommend favorite songs and albums), the new service Splash.fm hopes to combine the best elements of social media and song sharing. Users can create profiles and follow friends or notable personalities, and they are provided the ability to skim song charts, see which tracks are trending, and pass tunes along for acquaintances to enjoy. Curiously, any activities you participate in, such as making recommendations, are scored as a reward for contributions, and ample ways are provided to discover the most active users or people with similar interests. Snippets of songs from iTunes and even entire tracks can also be passed along via the service, a potential boon to artists looking to promote their music and band.

Now available in public beta for widespread public testing, users can register via Facebook, Twitter or online form to give it a whirl, with feeds and search results quickly accessible or able to be filtered on command. A mobile app and access to back-end analytics are additionally planned for release in coming months in the hopes of making the platform more attractive to professional performing acts.

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