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 based in Miami, Florida.