News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday February 13, 2013.
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Music streaming app Slacker did something strange today. When a smartphone app launches or introduces a new feature, it typically happens first on the Apple iPhone and then comes to Android a few weeks later. If users are lucky, it will soon trickle down to BlackBerry or Windows Phone.
Slacker bucked the trend and launched a cross-platform, almost simultaneous update. In an effort to overhaul its design and rebrand as a stronger competitor to Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio, Slacker introduced a new design for its Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry 10 apps on the same day. Slacker says a Windows Phone 8 app should appear soon, but it's not yet available in the Windows Phone store. From a design perspective, Slacker made across-the-board changes. The app made a fresh start by replacing the old dark theme with one based on white backgrounds, light blue tiles, and flat icons. It's a Windows Phone-like makeover for all platforms, ironic considering that the Windows Phone 8 version hasn't been released yet.
Though Slacker has updated its design at the same time, there are still differences in features. The iPhone and Android apps have a feature to adjust the diversity of similar artists played on a station, something not available on BlackBerry 10. The BB10 app also lacks the ability to Fine Tune the frequency of favorites, popular hits, and newer songs on a station, feature that are available on Android and iPhone.
Slacker doesn't get full marks for introducing a uniform experience across platforms, but it's an encouraging sign when a company makes an attempt to reach out to devices beyond the iOS/Android duopoly. One can only hope this becomes something more companies embrace. Download links for each platform are available at Slacker.com.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.