The open source media player Miro just unveiled version 4.0 of its product, which includes media syncing for Android handsets and tablets. The software also makes it possible to buy Android apps from Google’s Android Market and Amazon’s Android app store. It’s easily the biggest update yet for Miro, which delivers an open-source alternative to iTunes for the Android ecosystem and a direct challenge to other contenders like DoubleTwist.
The new update also includes a home sharing feature that makes it possible to play any Miro library content on any computer in the home network. The software uses the iTunes DAAP protocol to facilitate this kind of networking, which means Miro shares will also be available to any other DAAP client and play media from other DAAP servers, including network attached storage (NAS) drives in your home network.
Another notable feature is the inclusion of the Miro Video Converter, making it possible to convert any video file to make it playable on most handsets and other devices. And finally, Miro continues to include a BitTorrent client to download media from various torrent sites.
Miro is published by the non-profit Participatory Culture Foundation as an open-source project, and it has been trying to compete with iTunes and other media players for a long time. The makers of Miro told me in March they’ve been clocking about two million active users per month and a total of five million downloads of the application over the last year.
The Participatory Culture Foundation has long pushed to empower independent content makers to find new audiences online, which has been reflected in Miro as well. The software includes a media guide that showcases audio and video podcasts. This is the first time Miro has actively embraced mobile devices.
The new update squarely focuses on Android, but the makers of Miro aren’t ignoring iOS entirely: They’ve been working on a Miro app for the iPad, which should be available in about three weeks, according to Participatory Culture Foundation Co-Founder Nicholas Reville.