Slacker Radio For Android

There are a couple of different ways to play music on mobile phones. One way is the iPod model of copying music files to the phone and then playing that music using a music player. Just about every mobile phone has a way of playing music files, so the difference is with how easily you can transfer files from a PC to the phone and how much storage capacity is available for storing music files. The iPhone exceeds all mobile phones in this category by providing easy synchronization with iTunes.

Historically, mobile phones have not had a significant amount of storage space, and it wasn’t until recently that high capacity storage cards became affordable. The capacity issue is why I never transfer music to any of my mobile phones, and ever since I bought a second generation iPod, I have enjoyed the simplicity of synchronizing my entire digital music library with a dedicated MP3 player. Another problem with the iTunes / iPhone synchronization model is that it requires connecting the phone to a PC to transfer music. While not a difficult process, it does require time and effort to connect the two and transfer files so that you have the latest music on your mobile device.

An alternative to transferring music to mobile phones is streaming music to mobile phones. This option has not been very viable until recently with the increase in wireless bandwidth. Most of these applications promote themselves as wireless Internet radio players because they stream channels of related music. Rather than saving playlists of music files you create music channels. Pandora may be the most popular of this genre of players, and it enables you to create channels by specifying a particular artist and then it streams to your phone music from similar artists.

Of course the problem with streaming music is that it requires a continuous Internet connection. Actually, most of these players download a music file of the song to be played before playing it, so current playback is not interrupted when the Internet connection drops, but the player will not be able to download a new track until the connection is restored.

Slacker Radio Plus for Android addresses the problem by providing the ability to cache a number of songs of a channel to the device. The preferred method is to configure Slacker to transfer a channel’s song via Wi-Fi overnight. You can still stream music in Slacker Radio, so you get the best of both worlds for music playback. In order to cache channels you have to pay a subscription fee of either $47.88 per year, or $4.99 per month. A free version, which does not cache channels, is also available for Android, as well as for the iPhone, Blackberry, and Palm Pre. You will hear advertisements in the free version, but it includes album art and song lyrics.

Rather than copy music to my T-Mobile myTouch 3G, I have been using Pandora, and now Slacker Radio. Audiophiles may not like the playback quality, but I think it is comparable to FM radio. When I go on long trips I take my Zune, which has my entire music library, but for random listening throught the day, I like the convenience that Pandora and Slacker Radio provides. You will find Pandora and Slacker Radio in the Android Market.