At the start of this review, I was simultaneously excited and frustrated. Now I'm just plain excited. For a bit of context, I have been bouncing between cloud music services since Lala was still a thing. I had one simple desire: I wanted to pay a monthly fee for unfettered access to a large library of content, but still wanted to be able to bring my own. I know that $10/month is not going to get me every song in existence, but if I can pay for most music, and then supply the rest, I'll be happy. Today, Google finally gave me what I wanted and, make no mistake, this is the model that other apps are going to follow for a long time to come.
As if there weren't enough contenders out there for music subscription service, Slacker Radio has updated its business model. You can still get the standard ad-supported radio station features that were always available. However the company has added a Spotify-like buffet option for $10/month. Pony up the dough and you can remove all ads and listen to as many tracks as you want.
The combination is pretty powerful, as one of the biggest complaints over Spotify is its discovery problems. Slacker Radio never really dethroned Pandora, but it did offer some stiff competition. There has been relatively little overlap between radio and subscription services.
SoundTracking made its jump from iOS onto the Android Market today boasting a new, Android exclusive (for now), feature. As the name indicates, this app allows you to keep track of songs you're listening to and post them to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare for your friends to see and comment on. Included with your post will be a snippet of the song, a photo, and your geo-location.
That Android exclusive feature I mentioned before is the ability for you and your friends to play full versions of shared songs via Rdio or Spotify, instead of just listening to a short clip.
Sonos is a company well-known in the tech industry for their line of wireless speaker systems, designed to let you sling music around your house without the hassle of complex setup processes or routing wires through ceilings and walls. To mark the launch of their Sonos Controller for Android application, Sonos generously loaned me a full multi-room system consisting of two Sonos S5 speaker units and a wireless ZoneBridge router. Given the buzz surrounding Sonos's products, it seemed best to review the system as a whole, viewing the application and hardware as a complete set. Read on to see how it all stacked up.
This morning, I noticed an interesting thread in the EVO subsection of the XDA forums that claimed to be able to fix music streaming (which was broken in some apps after the latest OTA), while boosting 3G speeds by .2 to .6 Mbps. As the process is very simple and easily reversible, I gave it a go - but decided that I was going to use SpeedTest to benchmark the changes. Unfortunately, what I found wasn't what I expected.
Before doing anything, I ran the test three times. Before the fix my average download speed was 938.67 Kbps. After I ran the fix, my speed dropped to an average of 782 Kbps.