Posts Tagged ‘ Winamp ’

Songbird – Not Tweeting, Not Angry, Just Singing.

Songbird

It’s been a while since a new music player caught my eye and this week it was nice to stumble upon ‘Songbird’ to try out as an alternative method of listening to music.
Already a popular desktop application, ‘Songbird’ comes to Android bringing with it it’s stylish purple design to take on the likes of Winamp and PowerAmp.
Everything about Songbird is tidy and clean, exploring your music collection is quick work and surprisingly flexible. Like Winamp, the ‘now playing’ screen can be accessed via a slide-up drawer which works excellently. The ‘now playing’ screen features all the usual controls as well as a unique Flickr button which activates a photo stream of the artist that’s currently playing. There’s also a Facebook ‘Like’ button that allows you to inform/annoy your Facebook chums about what music you’re listening to.
One of Songbird’s main strengths is the ability to easily create playlists. I’ve seen other music apps completely fumble the method of playlist creation but Songbird seems to have nailed it perfectly.
Sadly it’s not all thumbs up for Songbird, the home-screen widget kept locking up and would only come back to life with a handset reboot. Bear in mind this may not solely be an app issue, it’s possibly a compatibility issue with my Cyanogen rom.
Songbird is also lacking some of the cooler functions when compared to more established apps like ‘PowerAmp’ but the creators have promised a number of new functions and plug-ins in future updates (lock screen controls are top of my list).
Songbird may not yet be the ultimate Android music player but the potential is definitely there. It’s pleasant on the eye, simple to use and allows a strong degree of freedom on how you listen to your music.

About This App – Current Version : 1.0
Requires Android : 2.1 and up , Category : Music & Audio , Size : 1.2M , Price : Free

Links : Android Marketplace, Install via AppBrain

Bottom Line : It’s not quite up to the benchmark of the leading Android music apps but given a bit of time (and a few updates) Songbird could be the music app everyone is chirping about (groan!).

Advertisements

App Round Up – Updated Apps

Android apps are being updated all the time and since we started Android Apt back in October 2010 we’ve reviewed over 40 apps that have been getting their fair share of improvements (or otherwise). For Android Apt newcomers or anyone who missed these first time around, here’s a few updates worth pointing out.

Audiogalaxy – An excellent app for streaming your desktop music to your phone whether over wi-fi or your phone network. Recent updates include bug fixes, an improved UI, a genres tab, voice search, a better landscape mode and Last .FM scrobbling (yay!).

Grooveshark – Our review of Grooveshark has garnered it’s fair share of attention seeing as we were quite daming about the application. A newer version of the app has appeared since that review which claims improved application responsiveness, improved album art downloading and improved playback across most devices. There’s also fixes for playlist and favorites syncing.

Homepipe – I loved the idea of Homepipe but I just couldn’t get it to work. No word on how well the updated versions work but it’s now a ‘limited-use’ free app (10 uses a month).

Pulse News Reader – This slick RSS feed app has had a few improvements since our review the best of which is the facebook feed integration. Pulse can now go through your Facebook newsfeed and create a stream of any links posted by your friends, genius!

Rocket Bunnies – A new update to the number one Space Rabbit Simulator has doubled the number of levels with a new set enemies and obstacles to avoid. More importatntly there are now collectible hats! Yeah I knew that would grab your attention. A great game just got even better.

Skyfire Browser (Beta) – Now in version 3.0 (and out of Beta by the looks of things) this web browser may well warrant another look. Recent changes include a new search box for easy access to the OneTouch Search feature, enhanced video search with more content providers, a speedier browsing experience and some fine tuning to ensuring stability.

Winamp – The superb Winamp has had a few additions since our review, SHOUTcast Radio (2.2 & above) is now available, there’s improved Wi-Fi sync and iTunes library import and the number of widgets has increased.

PowerAMP – Forget the Llama’s Pyjamas, this is the Cat’s Knackers.

PowerAMP Music Player (Trial)

A wise man once said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”, this rule could also apply to the Android Marketplace. Less than two weeks ago I was singing the praises of Winamp for Android to the high heavens but now, out of nowhere, a new app has appeared to completely ruin the Winamp party. PowerAMP is a music player (currently in a trial period) loaded with features missing from other media players such as EQ control, album art downloading and support for a wide range of audio formats.

The 'Now Playing' screen even adds a background effect to match your album artwork

One of the main plus points of PowerAMP is it’s ability to offer numerous options to the user without losing them in a wealth of menus and buttons which is quite a feat considering how wonderfully flexible this app is.
On first start up PowerAMP will scan your SD card for media folders (once you tell it where to look) and it impressively takes an instant to complete this process. Once set up, your media library is clearly listed (either sorted by folder or by Android’s system media library) with album art and once you’re inside an album folder you can control whether to play the whole album, play a single track, add a track (or all of them) to a playlist, make it a ringtone plus much more. The main ‘now playing’ screen is excellently designed, from the clear controls, to the album art (which scrolls deliciously when you change albums), the simple access to your music library and the option to adjust your EQ.
That’s right, EQ.

AT LAST! EQ on an Android music player

Ever since buying my Android handset I have mourned the lack of being able to adjust the EQ when listening to music, having to put up with flat sounding audio was never fun. Not anymore, PowerAMP boasts a 10 band graphic equalizer complete with presets. You can also adjust the parameters yourself and easily create excellent results thanks to the fast, responsive interface. Speaking of interfaces, PowerAMP gives you a choice of three skins as well as a selection of homescreen widgets and a fully tooled up lock screen all of which work superbly. Headset support is also included, when you remove your headset the music stops. Plug your headset back in, the music picks up exactly from where you left off, excellent.
PowerAMP also supports Last.Fm scrobbling as well as mp3 tag editing and comes complete with numerous ‘under the hood’ options to give you plenty of room to make the app work the way you want it to. (Tip : If your album tracks appear in the wrong order (ie. alphabetically) try going into settings>sorting> and tweaking the options until you get the desired result)
Given the choice between this and Winamp right now I think I would have to go for PowerAMP, it does lots of things Winamp doesn’t do (as yet). One feature Winamp does have in it’s favour is the wireless streaming which would have made it a closer call, had I been able to get it to work. PowerAMP is a hugely impressive application and one that is quite rightly generating a lot of excitement in the Android community. As yet there are no details of what will happen when the free trial version expires but for the right price this app could well be an essential purchase.

Link : Install via AppBrain

Bottom line : It looks good, it works even better and it sounds superb. So far this is the best music player I have found on Android. Try it asap before the trial expires.

Winamp Beta – It’s The Llama’s Pyjamas

Winamp Beta

If, like me, you rock an Android handset then I guess that, also like me, you’re thinking it must be Christmas right now. At the time of writing this we’ve had Angry Birds, Tweetdeck, an updated YouTube app, all in the last 10 days and now Winamp Beta has popped up on the Marketplace to a rapturous reception from the Android community.

Hello old friend, it's been a while. My, you're looking nice.

I’ve always struggled to find an Android based music player that I’m 100% happy with but the Winamp team, thanks to their talent for appealing and intuitive design, have ported their popular media player to the Android platform with great success. This truly is the trusty old Winamp experience scaled down to your Android handset right down to the familiar ‘Winamp, It Whips The Llama’s Ass’ soundclip when you first start up the app; it’s like meeting an old friend who happens to have kept themselves in great shape.
Hands down the UI on Winamp is the best I have found on Android so far for playing music. It’s not overly flash or fussy but it helps you get the job done with ease. From the home screen you can access Artists, Albums, Songs, Playlists, History or the Search function, menus are responsive and the program runs perfectly. Wherever you are in the UI you can usually get to wherever you want to go with a minimal amount of navigation thanks in part to the excellent ‘drag-up’ Now Playing screen. For me, the Now Playing screen is the most important part in any music player and should be accessible as easily as possible (take note Audiogalaxy), the ‘drag up’ feature of Winamp makes this possible.

In this case the Now Playing screen also includes some shameless cross promotion.

The Now Playing screen features everything you need, play/seek controls, album art, access to the current playlist, a list of all tracks / albums by the current artist, shuffle/repeat controls and the all important home button. Creating and editing playlists on your handset is easily done via long pressing on songs when in a tracklist. Also tucked away in the long press menu are options to use a particular track as a ringtone and a search function to find the track on Youtube or the Internet. For widget fans Winamp also comes with a very tidy widget with all the basic controls you need to control your music from your home screen, there’s only one size at the moment but I would assume that more will be developed as the program moves closer towards a final release.
Scrobbling to Last.fm is also possible, you’ll need to install the Last.fm app on your handset; as yet there are no options to share info on currently playing tracks to Twitter or Facebook.
If you install the new Beta version of Winamp on your PC you can also stream your music library to your handset via Wi-Fi. Sadly I could not get the Winamp Beta program to install on my Windows 7 installation. That’s the downside of a Beta I guess, someone will always be at the worse end of the testing experience, in this case it just happens to be me. Even without the streaming capabilities Winamp Beta has easily pushed aside all other media players on my handset, if they include shoutcast radio or video playback in future versions then I could be finding myself throwing all kinds of other apps on the scrapheap (or should that be Appheap?, sorry).

Links : Install via AppBrain, Official Winamp Blog Post

Bottom line : Boasting a superb and robust UI with easy to access features; this is the best audio player app I’ve used on Android so far. As a music player it ticks all the boxes, if you can get the streaming library to work then it’s an utterly essential app.

%d bloggers like this: