Feb 01 AT 12:42 AM Taylor Wimberly 41 Comments

Rumor: Google to unveil browser-based Android Market with Google Music cloud services on Wednesday

Google is holding a special event for the press on Wednesday which includes “an in-depth look at Honeycomb, Android ecosystem news, and hands-on demos.” We knew right away that the hands-on demos would be with the Motorola Xoom tablet, but the “ecosystem news” sounded a little vague so we did some digging. After talking with several of our regular sources we have a pretty good idea of what might be in store for Android fans. Check out the full rumor report after the jump.

The Rumor

Google has finally completed its web-based Android Market and they will reveal it at their Honeycomb press event on Wednesday. The online Market is said to be “on par with that of the Apple App Store or even better.”

The Source

This tip came from a regular source who has provided accurate information on Sprint in the past. As with most people that hand over sensitive information, he wishes to remain anonymous.

One Android Insider’s take on the rumor

I wouldn’t be printing this rumor unless I thought there was some truth behind it.  Keep in mind that this is just a rumor, so don’t take it to be the final word on what could happen this Wednesday. It seems pretty obvious that the new Android Market is coming sometime soon, but let’s review what we know already.

Google showed off the web-based Android Market and Google Music services during the last Google I/O, back in May 2010. “It’s called the Android Market, because it’s more than apps, ” said Vic Gundotra as he described the new features that Google had been working on.

Android Market

A preview of the online Android Market shown during Google I/O 2010.

They demoed both services on a Nexus One running Android 2.2 and said they would be available in a future version of the mobile OS. Half a year later we are still waiting on these new features and now Google is about to provide an in-depth look at Android 3.0 this week.

It’s not very often that Google holds these types of events, so you know that something big is going to drop for them to invite everyone to their headquarters.

Another possible hint appeared in a recent BusinessWeek story titled Larry Page’s Google 3.0. In the article it was revealed that Andy Rubin took over the leadership of Google’s digital music project and he was working with former YouTube lawyer, Zahavah Levine, to secure the needed licenses from the four major music labels.

According to three people familiar with Google’s plans, Andy Rubin’s team has “developed a service that will let users upload their music collections to Google’s servers and then synchronize them with any mobile device.” The service is widely believed to have been completed, with only the lawyers holding it up.

The same BusinessWeek report, which was published on January 26th, said that a deal was almost done and “the offering could be unveiled as soon as next month.” Representatives from the music labels said that no deals had been signed with Google, but something might have finally gone down this past Friday before Google sent out their event invites to the press.

Android platform group manager Eric Chu also alluded to the upcoming changes during a session at the Inside Social Apps conference last week. “Helping developers monetize is very important to us,” Chu said.

He told the audience that Google was “not happy” with the number of app purchases, but changes to the Android Market were on the way. Mr. Chu did not dive into specific details or provide any time frames, but said that Google’s roadmap included enhancements to carrier billing, in-app payments, improved discovery of apps, and taking advantage of “the best social graph” — the Android address book.

We were told time and time again at CES that Honeycomb was not completely finished and more surprises were on the way. This Android Market upgrade has been a long time in coming, so what better time to roll it out than with the release of Android 3.0?

What do you think Google has in store for their special event on Wednesday? Will they unveil another secret project and surprise the media?

Bonus video: Google will be broadcasting their Honeycomb event live on the web at youtube.com/android, but check out the following clip for a sneak preview of what the web-based Android Market could look like.

 

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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