PC users and mobile users have had access to Pandora’s Internet radio system for some time. The free online service lets you create unique streaming music stations customized to your preferences. The Pandora radio app for Android merely serves as an interface to the service on Android OS phones. As such, this review will focus on the app, and not on the service itself.
As with Pandora’s other interfaces, you can create a new account for yourself and create new stations immediately. If you already have a Pandora account, you can log in to that account, and Pandora will push your existing stations and preferences down to the phone. Thereafter, the app will automatically log you back in. When you listen to one of your stations, you can give songs a thumbs-up or thumbs-down vote depending on your tastes. Also, if you dislike something that’s playing, you can click a Skip button at the bottom of the Pandora window–but no more than three times each hour. These votes and skips help the service tweak its decision process and make better choices about the music it chooses to play. In theory, the service gets better at selecting music you like over time if you keep giving it constructive feedback.
The app works best in portrait mode; otherwise, the embedded AdMob advertisements that appear on the playback screen partly cover the album art–and let me tell you, Aimee Mann album art clashes horribly with Cadillac SRX ads.
A setting on the app lets you lower the audio quality automatically when you’re streaming music over the phone network. This adjustment is supposed to reduce pauses as the music buffers, but I didn’t experience any problems anyway–even on the High quality setting (and presumably, the matter becomes moot when you use a Wi-Fi network instead on your 3G network).