HP Play revamped as a music streaming service for the Middle East
Back in the summer of 2011 when the HP TouchPad launched to the world, HP also launched a desktop app for both Windows and Mac to enable the synchronization of your music to your TouchPad, Pre3, or really any USB-mountable device. Today, thanks to the eagle eyes of the members of our oh-so-awesome webOS Nation Forums, we're seeing that HP's taken the HP Play name and amped it up to something more than a mere synchronization app.
For what it's worth, we always suspected that HP had bigger things in mind for the HP Play brand than just shuttling files back and forth over a USB cable, but with the TouchPad and future webOS hardware canned just 49 days after launch, those bigger things were put into the back of their mind. But more than a year later, HP Play has been reincarnated as a streaming music service for those living in the Middle East. The new HP Play utilizes Universal Music Group's catalog for its tunes, which offers a massive number of tunes for your streaming pleasure. Like Microsoft's music offerings, HP Play lets you download and keep up to ten tracks per month.
As for pricing, those who have purchased one of HP's Pavilion or Envy computers after September 29th will get twelve months of HP Play for free. You'll also be able to listen to HP Play music through dedicated apps for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. But, again, only in the Middle East (specifically, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen). If you haven't purchased an HP computer in the past two months, you can grab a 12-month pass through one of HP's physical stores in Cairo, Kuwait City, Doha, Dubai, Muscat, Riyadh, or Al Khobar. Strangely, this only streaming service does not seem to support purchasing access online.
We'll be honest, we're a little surprised to see HP Play resurrected like this, though it is admittedly a good brand name for a music store. As for HP Play being restricted to just the Middle East, that may actually help somewhat with the confusion that might arise otherwise from having a very similar name to Google's Play store (which offers apps, music, movies, and other digital goods), as Google Play barely has a presence in the Middle East.
This also marks the end of availability for the HP Play synchronization app, which never managed to make it out of its beta status. If it's installed on your computer, we dont' see why it would stop working, but you're not going to be able to download it again if you need it. It's good to see HP Play finally living up to its potential, but that there's no webOS app - or reason to make a webOS app for that matter - puts a little bit of a sour taste in our mouths.