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Music, Audio and Radio Apps on the Droid

Since the most common comparison to the Droid is the iPhone, the question of music often comes up.  The iPhone was built to be one part iPod, one part phone, so the natural usage of music on the iPhone made sense.  With the competitive nature between the iPhone and the Droid, it only makes sense that the users of the Droid phone would want to be able to play music too.

The most obvious is the installation of music on the phone.  The iPhone makes it simple with iTunes integration, but the Droid makes things a tad more complex.  The Droid can be mounted on the desktop as a hard drive, or third party software like Missing Sync (for $40) or Double Twist (for free).  Once that is done, music and videos can be played directly on the phone from the phone’s memory.

One strong advantage that the Droid has over the iPhone is the ability to put apps in the background.  IPhone will let you perform other tasks while listening to music stored on the phone, but the Droid will let you stream any app while using the phone for other tasks.  The ability to listen to anything without having to store it on the phone itself and still be able to surf the web, check email or view a calendar is a definite strength for the Android operating system against the iPhone OS.

For those who don’t want to preload their music, here are some other options.  Each of them is linked to a page that contains a QR code that can be scanned with Barcode Scanner (or any other barcode reading software) to install on your Android phone.

  • Amazon MP3 – Comes preinstalled on phones running the Android operating system.  It’s a way to purchase any songs and albums from Amazon.com and downloads them directly to the phone.  The songs can be transferred to a PC later to listen to elsewhere.
  • i Music – If purchasing songs isn’t for you, you can always attempt to download them for free using i Music.  It allows you to search for songs from around the web and download them directly to your phone.  It does work over the 3G network, but wifi is recommended for faster downloading.
  • iheartradio – Want to listen to commercial radio stations from around the US?  Then this is your app.  Over 400 stations from around the country streaming directly to your phone.  You can bookmark your favorites and tag songs to remember later.
  • imeem mobile – This app links to your account on the Myspace purchased imeem network so you can listen to your imeem playlists and songs on the go.
  • Last.FM – Like the website, you can create a station based on an artist, a song or based on the music you listen to.  It “scrobbles” songs you listen to and tracks what you do and don’t like to create a customized station just for you.
  • Google Listen – When you want to listen to a podcast, Listen is the app you want.  You can search and subscribe to any audio podcast you want then choose to download or stream it to your phone, so you have the option of listening any time and any place to your favorite podcasts.
  • Mother TED – Admittedly this is a streaming video app, but when you want to listen to interesting lectures from intelligent people, TED is the only place to go.  Absorbing talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design that are guaranteed to inspire.
  • Pandora – Create your own custom stations based on song, artist, composer or theme and Pandora generates a streaming station based on the music genome project.  If you have a Pandora account on the website, you can also log in to access your saved stations.
  • Ringdroid – Want to be able to create your own ringtones directly on the phone? Ringdroid can take songs or audio saved on the phone or audio recorded through the phone and let you edit them directly on the phone in order to create and save ring tones on the move.
  • Shazam – If you’ve ever heard a song and wondered what it was, Shazam will listen to the song and look up the name of the song and the artist for you.  Shazam saves all the songs you look up, so you can search Amazon MP3 store or YouTube and find it to hear again.
  • Slacker Radio – Listen to streaming radio stations of your own creation or based on genre on the mobile version of the Slacker streaming audio website.

While it’s possible to listen to many genres of music and different talk radio based on the applications listed above, to me the most glaring omission is an XM or Sirius app to listen to the pay satellite radio service.  They can be streamed to Windows Mobile phones or listened to on iPhone and Blackberry based apps, so why not Android as well so I can listen to Ron and Fez on the road?

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