Wait, isn’t radio dead? Isn’t this the era of Pandora, Last.fm, and Bandcamp? Well, according to over 10 million users, radio is alive and kicking. All of these people (between 10 and 50 million, in fact) downloaded the free version of TuneIn for Android, and it has a 4.5 rating with no less than 133,000 reviews. In a word, that is stupendous .
To see why all of these people love TuneIn so much, I decided to take it for a comprehensive spin. If you’re into music but not so much into radio, scroll down and let’s see if I can’t change your mind.
Picking A Station
As you launch the app, a station menu pops up, offering several ways to find your next station:
By “station” I mean an actual radio station – not just one broadcasting over the Internet.
The Music submenu offers a rich selection of genres:
And once you drill down into a specific genre, you get a list of stations, each with its own logo:
And now all that’s left is to tap a station and start listening. What’s cool is that there are stations from all over the world, not just the States. For example, here’s Boca Radio, from Spain:
Not all stations offer an amazing bitrate; Boca Radio, above, streams at only 32kbps, which is really quite low (but still okay, compared to “regular” radio). Some stations stream 128kbps, and some even go as high as 160kbps, which is a very nice bitrate. TuneIn adjusts the bitrate down if your connection can’t handle it.
One of the more interesting categories in the genre list is called “Specialty”, and hosts gems such as this station, called Birdsong Radio:
As you may have guessed, it plays… birdsongs. You can hear tweeting, chirping, warbling, and other nature sounds. It sounds like a weird idea at first, but it’s actually quite soothing (give it a try, really).
Once you switch from TuneIn to continue using your device for other things, you can easily access it again via a nice status bar indicator:
The indicator shows what station you’re listening to, as well as how far along the current song is. Tapping it once pops you right back into the app.
The settings screen is very simple, and looks like this:
That little TuneIn Pro notification at the top is the only plug for the commercial version I could see. Very low-key and tasteful. The “Shake for Related” functionality is off by default, and for good reason: When it’s on, TuneIn just switches stations when you shake the device. This can be nice if you have your phone sitting next to you and you want to give it a brisk shake if the current song is annoying. But if you have it in your pocket and are walking about, you would definitely want to keep it off.
By the way, a note about the look and feel of the Settings screen: The iOS-like on/off toggles don’t come with TuneIn, but with MIUI ROM, a free ROM for Android I have recently installed (I will tell you all about it in another post).
TuneIn For The Web
If you spend the bulk of your time in front of a PC, you may want to check the Web-based version of TuneIn, which we’ve recently covered.
Inducting TuneIn Radio Into The Best of Android
Last but not least, it is my great pleasure to induct TuneIn into MakeUseOf’s exclusive list of Best Android Apps. You can find it in the Music and Audio category in the good company of Slacker Radio, Shazam, SoundHound, and several other awesome applications that don’t start with the letter S. I’d also like to take this chance to thank readers Simun Simonsen, Jaseev Singh Anand and others who have taken the time to recommend TuneIn. Thanks, guys!
Let us know in the comments what you think of TuneIn.