Pandora releases Android tablet app

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Issue Date: 
Oct 31 2013 - 12:30pm

From Issue:

Pandora is making some fanfare over the release of a new Android tablet app, which re-packages Android version 5 for the bigger screen. Version 5 exists for Android phone and Apple phones, with the same essential features as the tablet version, but in a compressed form.

We like music services in tablets -- Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, iHeart, and many others get lots of tablet time in the RAIN editorial office. We’re not sanguine about the mainstream future of mobile listening on tablets, especially in the car where the convenience of smartphones rules the cockpit. But tablets give app developers enough room to create multiple overlying swipe screens, which comprise the great navigation advantage of larger devices.

The release gives Pandora an opportunity to brag about version-5 features:

  • Informational artist pages with Music Genome characteristics. Those Genome aspects, while just a fraction of a complex music analysis, give an indication of why Pandora selected the music for you to hear.
  • A timeline profile which tracks your actions in the app -- e.g. thumbing up and down, creating new stations, and social actions. We especially love the ability to leave a comment on one’s own feed, to been by all followers.
  • A social feed, similar to spotify’s which reveals what your Pandora friends are listening to.

We notice that although Pandora displays album art of tracks previously played by the current station, you cannot backskip to those tracks, as you can do in the new Rhapsody Android app. (See the RAIN review here.)

Pandora makes a beautifully designed product in our view. The web app has been elegant for years, undimmed through many revisions. Synchronization across all devices works nicely, and the version-5 features are implemented everywhere. We do note that a heavy visual ad load plagues reduces the pleasure of phone access, where the small screen doesn’t give ads any room for discrete placement (and perhaps encourages subscribing to the ad-free version).

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