Google I/O Part 1: $9.99/Month Streaming Music, Unlocked Galaxy S4

Paul Lilly

Plenty happening at Google I/O.

Google I/O kicked off this morning and is still going on at the time of this writing, but rather than make you wait for a roundup of the highlights, we thought we'd pass along some of the more interesting developments that have already occurred. One of the biggest ones is the introduction of a streaming music service, as previously rumored, to go up against the likes of Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, and eventually Apple, to name a few.

The search giant's All Access music service runs $9.99 per month, though you can sign up for a 30-day free trial before jumping in with your wallet. There is an incentive for being an early adopter -- sign up by June 30th and you'll only pay $7.99 per month.

In addition to streaming songs you've already purchased, which is a trick you can already do with Google, the All Access service also allows you to tap into millions of tracks you don't own.

Similar to Pandora, Google will provide personalized listening recommendations, including playlists curated by Google's music editors. No songs will be greyed out -- if you see it, you can play it. You can also turn songs into radio stations and peek at the related playlist. Notice a song on your station's playlist you don't like? Swipe it away! You can even rearrange songs, giving you unprecedented control in the streaming music space. Or as Google puts it, it's radio without rules.

All Access is available immediately in the U.S. and will roll out to other parts of the world shortly.

Moving along, the other big announcement thus far is that of an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S4 handset. This particular version of the S4 will be available from Google Play. It's built by Samsung, but is running a clean version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean "with the same software experience" that Google ships on its Nexus devices. This version works with both AT&T and T-Mobile, has 4G LTE support, is equipped with 16GB of internal storage, has an unlocked bootloader, will receive Android updates "promptly" as they're made available, and will be available for $649 starting June 26 (an eerie silence from an otherwise energetic crowd emanated after the price was disclosed, followed by scattered nervous laughter).

So, what do you think about the All Access music service and unlocked Galaxy S4? Post your thoughts in the comments section below!

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