Xbox Music for Android coming soon, pricing unknown as of now

Say hello to the newest entrant in the streaming music arena. Microsoft has officially announced the launch of its Xbox Music service on October 26th. Contrary to what the name suggests, the service is not exclusive to the Microsoft XBOX, and will be a cross-platform offering available to Windows 8 (obviously, as the default music player), and on Windows 8 phones shortly thereafter. Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7 users seem to have been left out here.

Android and iOS users would have to wait for a bit before they receive Microsoft goodness, and although no exact dates are known, it is expected to hit Android and iOS devices sometime in early 2013.

The Music Streaming world is already quite overcrowded, and it would take something with really awesome features (and of course, pricing, unless it is free) to hope for any kind of success. Have a look at the grid below to check out how Microsoft intends to make its XBox Music service stand out from the crowd:

Going by the chart, it would appear that XBox Music does have a slight edge over the competition. It would be available in 2 versions, a free, ad-supported version for all Windows 8 computers and tablets and a $10 paid service for an ad-free experience on Windows 8 based computers and mobile devices, as well as XBOX consoles. However, there is always a catch- to be able to download tracks on the XBOX and play them offline later, you would need to have an XBOX Gold subscription.

Windows 8 users will be able to download tracks from the Digital Download Store, and can purchase individual tracks as well as albums. The Smart DJ feature will help users discover new music through recommendations, personalized playlists, and instant mixes. Music will be available in the wma format, encoded at 192Kbps for live streaming, and 256Kbps and DRM-free for purchase/downloading.

Pricing or feature availability for ANdroid and iOS have not been revealed yet, but Microsoft would want to get this out to 2 of the most widely used mobile platforms in the world sooner rather than later.