Bought a new iPod/iPhone/iPad and looking forward to buying music for your new device? Local users have always been out of luck in that respect, as despite being the market leader for years, Apple has failed to bring its music download service to Singapore.
Now, a new software update to Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will certainly be discord to Apple’s ears. The former has stuck a partnership with online music store 7digital to bring more than 9 million high quality MP3 tracks for Singapore residents to purchase.
The new Music Store app will allow users to search for songs, albums, and artists, as well as receive recommendations through a music discovery feature. Not sure whether a particular artist suits your tastes? The music store lets you preview tracks before plunking down the cash.
The cost of full albums on this new music store will range from S$8 to S$12, although users can also download just one or a few tracks if they don’t want the whole album.
However, the Music Store might be too little, too late. Although highly rated for its design and construction, the PlayBook’s lack of key apps such as a dedicated email client has hampered its early reception, especially when competing tablets running Android offers a full-featured experience.
Right now, the iPad sits at the top of the pile, commanding an impressive chunk of the tablet market share despite not having a music store. Efforts by other computer manufacturers have failed to break Apple’s grip. The HP TouchPad, for instance, suffered a permanent price cut merely weeks after its launch.
But there might yet be a silver lining for RIM. A dedicated music store app is indeed a unique offering which could attract a select group of users. Currently, only the local telcos provide a relatively convenient way for their subscribers to purchase and download music.
22-year-old Luke Vijay Somasundram was one previous user of SingTel’s music service AMPed, but stopped because he found it wanting. “I didn’t like how the songs weren’t automatically added to my iTunes library,” he said. “Moreover, there was no clear to figure out how much the songs were costing me, or even if they were costing me anything at all.”
Somasundram welcomed RIM’s move to bring a dedicated music download app to Singapore. He added, “I’ve been waiting for years for the iTunes Store to be made available to Singapore but it looks like Research in Motion has beaten them to the punch.”
Nonetheless, it will be an uphill battle to unseat the iPad as the gold standard of tablet computing. Rivals like RIM can only hope to crawl back market share with these tiny differentiations in their products.