Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha confirmed the existence of a Google music service, one of the worst-kept secrets the search engine has harbored as it seeks to extend its power in mobile computing versus Apple.
Jha, speaking with reporters at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Feb. 16, said: “If you look at Google Mobile services [via Android] today, there’s a video service, there’s a music service – that is, there will be a music service.”
While he provided no other specifics, Jha tipped Google’s hand to software that will work with Google’s Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” operating system, which is powering Motorola’s Xoom tablet in the United States and in Europe next month.
The 10.1-inch Xoom is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and offers front and rear cameras for video chat. Honeycomb has been redesigned to run 3D graphics, among other user interface perks.
Jha also confirmed the Xoom would cost $799 unsubsidized from Verizon Wireless in the United States and about $600 for a WiFi-only version later.
The revelation about Google’s music service was the big news. Rumors have swirled about this alleged rival to Apple’s iTunes since last year, when Google Android creator Andy Rubin reportedly took the lead on this effort.
Google has neither confirmed nor denied this. However, the company hinted at what was to come at its Google I/O conference last May, when engineering Vice President Vic Gundotra acknowledged Google acquired digital music specialist Simplify Media.
While Simplify Media specialized in letting users take music residing on their desktop and streaming it to an Android phone, Google’s plans are to offer music on the cloud, akin to what Apple is set to unveil after acquiring LaLa last year.
Jha also hinted that the Xoom will offer a video service powered by Honeycomb. Google CEO Eric Schmidt may have tipped his hand to such an offering Feb. 15 when he unveiled Movie Studio, a new application people will use to patch together still images and videos to create movies and share them online.
Meanwhile, while Verizon and Best Buy are set to sell the Xoom in the United States, Motorola said Feb. 17 that Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy will launch the XOOM (3G/WiFi), and Currys and PC World will launch the Xoom WiFi in the second quarter.