Google announces in-app subscriptions for Android apps

Google today announced a new feature for Android applications offered through the Google Play store. Available immediately for Android developers, in-app subscriptions will allow users to pay for monthly or annual subscriptions directly inside of apps. And as detailed by Google, the feature is set to auto-renew by default with transactions managed by the Google Play store.

In addition to adding a new level of convenience, the move opens the door to added revenue streams and even new types of content through Google Play. Looking forward, today's announcement could entice magazines and news journals to offer subscriptions to consumers … Read more

Low Latency No. 21: To the cord-cutters

We here at Low Latency are all for convenience, which is why we love Hulu. But requiring a cable or satellite TV subscription for the service seems like a step backward in practicality. Despite making nearly half a billion dollars in ad revenue last year, Hulu is now flirting with an authentication protocol. If we need to pay for cable TV to watch TV on the Internet, then what's the point? … Read more

The 404 1,044: Where we make May day (podcast)

Could you last a year without the Internet? It's not the first time we've heard of someone going off the grid, but a guy from The Verge has decided to spend the next year offline, so we'll challenge each other to do the same.

In other online news, Facebook has launched a new organ donor tool for Timeline that lets users add a life story to their profiles with a link to sign up for donation services in their area. Mark Zuckerberg went on ABC news and credited Steve Jobs as inspiration to use social networking to … Read more

Spotify signs ad deals with McDonalds, AT&T and Coca-Cola

We now know something about Spotify's press conference scheduled for today in New York.

Spotify has signed new advertising deals with AT&T, McDonalds, Intel, and Reebok and a worldwide ad deal with Coca-Cola, CEO Daniel Ek said today at the AdAge Digital conference. The Verge reports that Spotify will create new "brand apps" that will live inside Spotify's desktop.

The news, which was first reported by All Things Digital, comes hours before a Spotify press conference scheduled for this afternoon.

There's a lot of attention on Spotify now. The worst thing the company … Read more

iPad users spending $70K a day on newspaper and magazine content

A new report, released by the analytics firm Distimo (via Business Insider), finds that iPad users are spending upwards of $70,000 each day on magazines and newspapers for their iPads.

The report looked at the top-100 Newsstand apps in terms of gross sales, finding that iPad users seem willing to pay for newsy content. At the top of the list, as expected, are apps from The New York Times, The Daily, and the New Yorker. Also interesting to note, news apps account for 7 percent of the top-200 grossing apps.

The revenue from those apps comes largely at the … Read more

RIAA: Consumers are shelling out for subscription music

Here's a message that Spotify and Rhapsody will surely forward to the handlers of Adele, Coldplay, Tom Waits, Paul McCartney, and especially those guys in The Black Keys: Subscription music services saw revenue increase 13.5 percent last year, while the number of the sector's paying customers climbed 18 percent.

That's according to the Recording Industry Association of America, which yesterday released year-end music shipment statistics for 2011. The RIAA reported that subscription revenue went from $212 million in 2010 to $241 million last year. The number of users rose from 1.5 million to 1.8 … Read more

New York Times cuts free reads in half

The New York Times has cut the number of free online articles that readers are allowed to access per month in half.

The publishing company today said that starting in April readers will be able to access 10 stories for free each month. The New York Times previously allowed its readers to access 20 free stories online. The move is a not-so-subtle attempt on the Times' part to push more of its readers to digital subscriptions.

Those digital paid subscriptions have proven somewhat popular, the Times said. In the last year since they've been available, 454,000 subscriptions have … Read more

Test-drive the new iPad for 30 days

For a flat monthly fee of $24.95, online try-before-you-buy electronics site Ybuy will let you get your hands on the latest technology for 30 days without having to commit to its full purchase price.

You select one device at a time to test from an extensive catalog of everything from consumer electronics to gadgets for your home and kitchen. If the product doesn't fit in with your workflow or lifestyle, simply return it to Ybuy and get the next gadget in your queue. It's kind of like Netflix for electronics.

"For most consumers, when it comes … Read more

Steve Jobs asked CBS to join subscription video service

About seven months before he died, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was pitching a plan for a subscription-video service to leaders in Hollywood.

Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, the entertainment conglomerate and parent company of CNET, said Jobs approached him with the idea about a year ago, according to story in The Hollywood Reporter. Moonves shared the revelation on Saturday while addressing attendees of the UCLA Entertainment Symposium in Los Angeles.

Jobs died in October following a long fight with pancreatic cancer.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Moonves also said that Jobs failed to persuade him to support the subscription service. &… Read more

Amazon denies standalone subscription-video service plans

Amazon denied that it plans to soon launch a standalone video-streaming service similar to Netflix, dashing--for now--the prospect of a true head-to-head battle between the rivals.

Brad Beale, who oversees Amazon's video-acquisition unit, said in an interview with GigaOm's Ryan Lawler on Wednesday: "The bundle of benefits that come with Amazon Prime make perfect sense to offer to customers. The way that Prime Instant Video is offered today--we're going to continue that approach at least into the near future."

Even Netflix believed Amazon might spin off a standalone video service. In Netflix's fourth-quarter earningsRead more