Week in Tech: A room with a Vue, a new Lumia and a big Spotify rival

Week in Tech
It's a feast for the eyes and ears

It's been a big week for music: MTV held its European Music Awards in Glasgow, Taylor Swift told Spotify to sod off and Google announced YouTube Music Key, which is different from Google Play Music but which includes Google Play Music. No, we don't think that makes sense either.

It wasn't all about the bass this week: we also got the newest Nexus, Samsung's brilliantly odd Galaxy Note Edge, a TV station for PlayStations and the chance to see some penguins in virtual reality. That can only mean one thing: it's week in tech!

Google takes on Spotify as Taylor Swift quits

It's official: YouTube Music Key, Google's latest music subscription service, will launch in the next few days. It's a direct competitor to the likes of Spotify and Pandora and while there's a free bit, the important part is the $9.99/£9.99 monthly subscription. That delivers an ad-free listening experience with local caching and a bundled Google Play Music subscription, and it's likely to have the execs at Spotify calling Google terrible names.

YouTube Music Key wasn't the only blow for Spotify this week. Taylor Swift pulled her albums from the service. That's because "Taylor Swift can walk on water," Gary Marshall says: "For an artist capable of selling 1.3 million albums in a week, something nobody's done since Eminem in 2002, streaming is a pretty rubbish Plan B." Spotify, you'll be amazed to discover, disagrees.

Virtually perfect?

Good news for anyone who fancies sitting around with half a dustbin on their head: the Samsung Gear VR headset is coming in December, and with a price of US$199 (£126, AU$228) for the standalone model it isn't too pricey - although you'll need to supply your own Galaxy Note 4, which ups the cost a tad.

Is it any good? Marc Chacksfield and Michael Rougeau have been using it to watch virtual reality penguins, and they're cautiously impressed: bar a few interface issues and the fact it only works with one smartphone, it's an interesting and potentially brilliant device.

New Nexus: nifty

It's here, we've got it and it's good: yep, we're talking about the Google Nexus 6, Android Lollipop's flagship phone. It's bigger and badder than the iPhone 6 Plus, says Matt Swider, although it may be a little too big for anyone who isn't actually a giant - and the Samsung Galaxy Note is probably a better device.

Lollipop: wristy business

Lollipop doesn't just mean new phones. It means new wearables too, and Jeff Parsons has the inside info on what Google's bringing to a wrist near you. We'll see Material Design make its way to wearables, battery improvements and some useful accessibility options among other goodies.

The UK's got the Edge

From 28 November, Samsung fans in the UK will be able to wrap their digits around the firm's distinctly odd Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. The device, which is essentially a Galaxy Note with an extra bit of screen bent around the right hand side, is unlike anything else on the market - and it has the horsepower to ensure it's not a case of screen over substance.

Lumia yes, Nokia no

Microsoft has unveiled the first Lumia to appear without a Nokia badge, the Lumia 535. It's an affordable handset rather than a flagship, and so far Microsoft is prioritising the markets in China, Hong Kong and Bangladesh. The UK should get it in early 2015.

Room with a Vue

Sony has unveiled PlayStation Vue, a new cloud-based TV service that hopes to replace your cable and satellite TV. It's coming in beta form to PS4 and PS3 later this month, and while it's US-only at first the plan is to roll it out to PlayStations everywhere before turning its attention to iPads and other handhelds. Around 75 channels have already signed up.

See the web in 3D

The Firefox web browser is 10, and its proud parent Mozilla is imagining what the web might look like in another decade. The answer may well be virtual reality: just stick on an Oculus Rift, install the VR-enabled build of Firefox and you can see the web like you've never seen it before. Just imagine how annoying the pop-up ads will be.

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