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Unless proven otherwise, this will be another blog that I’ll fail to update after a week or so.

Pandora – iPhone app review

Well, after Evernote, I’d have to say that Pandora would be one of my next favorite iPhone apps. Granted, I don’t use this app often enough to warrant a glowing recommendation, but perhaps, I can shed light on Pandora itself, similar to what I did with Evernote.

I started using Pandora on the web a while ago, maybe over a year ago. I’ve always been a fan of radio. When I’m driving in the car, despite the fact that I have a built-in CD player, an iPod with thousands of songs on it, and a cassette deck (for that mix tape that you got in college), I most often listen to the radio. I’m not even talking about stuff that you can’t get live on the iPod like NPR, sports talk, or the news. Although I do listen to these broadcasts, you’ll often find me channel surfing to find a song that I probably already have somewhere on my iPod. It’s similar to watching those movies on TNT (A Few Good Men), ones which you’ve seen over and over again (The Shawshank Redemption), probably have on DVD (The American President), but will still sit down and watch just because it’s on the tube (When Harry Met Sally).

So, I like radio. We’ve got that covered. I don’t want to get satellite radio, because that’s just another subscription that I don’t need. And I’m always near a computer nowadays. Enter Pandora. By telling the web application just an artist or a song, it will then play songs by that artist or other songs by artists that have similar tonal qualities. In other words, artists that you’ll probably like but may not know it yet. It’s pretty intuitive, and I think I read somewhere that there’s a fair amount of science to it as well (always a plus in my book). If you don’t like a song, simply give it a “thumbs-down”, and Pandora will play something else for you. You have a limited number of “skips”, but the worst case scenario is that you start a new channel featuring another artist and you’re back in business. If you like a song, you give it a “thumbs-up”, and the program will take note of this and use the positive review to further refine its selection of songs that you’ll like.

I’ve discovered that Pandora has a pretty extensive database at its fingertips. For example, I’m a fan of the Dave Matthews Band, but don’t care to purchase all of the live albums that they continuously produce. I’ve noticed that every now and then, Pandora will play me a song from an obscure live album (Jason Mraz and Rufus Wainwright are also prominently featured on that station). As far as the iPhone app goes, the interface is very user friendly. It resembles your iPod interface (without Cover Flow), and you have all of the stations that you created on the web application at your fingertips. While you’re listening to your song, you have the option to rate it, pause it, and skip it (still a limited number of skips). While playing, the cover of the album is displayed, and the sound is pretty good through the speakers (3G model).

I suppose it all depends on your connection. I’ve had good luck obviously with WiFi, and I’ve tried it a few times on 3G on the el train in Chicago. I’ve heard EDGE is decent, but I can imagine the application might take a considerable amount of time to load if not on a faster connection. Honestly, I can’t think of too many drawbacks of the program. It offers you an option to listen to music that you like (or potentially will like) for free. Until the iPhone comes with an internal radio, this is the next best thing for radio lovers such as myself.

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Filed under: iPhone, iPhone Apps, Reviews, , , , , , , , ,

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