Android radio round-up: 8, 7

John Walton
Cell Phone Editor
| February 3, 2009

Despite the disclaimer in the following paragraph, I'll be sticking with the apps that have achieved three-plus star ratings in the Android Market for this round-up - which is why I'm counting down from eight instead of ten.  If I've missed a program that deserves mention, please speak up in the comments. I don't want to leave anyone out. Not all of the programs listed actually stream radio broadcasts, but rather, other kinds of pre-recorded content. But I think it's appropriate to group them together in this manner. Come on, whaddaya want from me?

Streaming apps generally get a bad rap in the Market ratings - or at least fewer stars than they deserve, thanks to buffering issues. These rarely have anything to do with the app itself. And most of the programs listed in this series access various servers that belong to media outlets, not their own. I'm on Wi-Fi and have pretty decent 3G access, so buffering is rarely an issue for me. My primary complaint is... Why is the speaker on the BACK of my G1? Here we go.

#8 Android Radio (Listed in the market as Web Radio) offers over 800 stations from around the world. A catalog of this magnitude may be appealing for some, but to me, it's intimidating. How am I supposed to navigate through this ocean of off-shoots of branches of forks of sub-genres of genres? The user can rate and favorite stations, but the app does nothing to take your listening habits into account for the purpose of recommending other content.

Considering that's the direction the big dogs are headed, I'm not sure Android Radio has much of a chance. The interface is decent, and there are some nice features. But I can't see many folks forking over $1.99 to unlock the app when superior programs are freely available. This program includes the ability to access lyrics and record music to your own media library, which may be worth the Paypal purchase to some. Not me, though. My apologies to the creator; you deserve something for your work. I hope you get enough support to continue developing the program, and to implement new features.

Android Radio buffers a lot of material at startup. This probably minimizes problems later on in the stream, but it might be a bit excessive.

#7 Nagare is the ultimate DIY radio streamer. Enter an address that contains Shoutcast or Icecast streaming audio, and Nagare will play it and remember the address. That's it. Light, functional. There isn't much there, so there isn't much to say. But that's just what many of you are looking for.

Click here for part 2

Products mentioned