Pandora goes HTML5 and streams on Windows Phone IE9 (Kind of)

One "killer app" missing for many on Windows Phone, despite some solid alternatives, is Pandora internet radio. We still see no reason that Pandora won't release an official app now that Mango is around the corner and supports background play--so we won't be surprised if something shows up soon.

However, in the meantime for you die-hard folks out there who are already on Mango (estimate via "I'm a WP7" is nearly 20% of Windows Phone users): you can now browse to via IE9 and stream that way. See, the whole website was redesigned and relaunched today and HTML5 is their new standard. Our browser supports HTML5 and background audio play, so match made in heaven. New Pandora site includes:

  • New Look and Feel: A new centralized content area accentuates each ad execution by increasing the space and immersing the user via an integrated skin for campaigns. Additionally, the modern page design scales to provide more creative possibilities for advertisers with additional ad formats.
  • Additional Screen Real Estate: Ads are seamlessly integrated across the entire site while listeners explore music and artist content and engage in robust social experiences, such as interacting with self and friend profiles and feeds.
  • Simplified Cross Platform Execution: Smooth platform parity between web and mobile, making it easier to execute cross-platform audio and visual ad campaigns.
  • Bigger Videos: Video ads have been upgraded to a larger, full-screen video overlay, prominently showcasing advertisers' videos.
  • Enhanced Social Features: New opportunities for advertisers to connect with listeners as they share and engage with others in the Pandora community and their social networks.

As we said, match made in heaven, right? Well, not quite. While it certainly does work, it's still a bit slow--you'll have that "delay" between pressing a button and the response, which can last a few seconds (leaving you unsure if the button press even registered). We also had some issues with our volume being very low (had to jack it up to 30 and even then was barely audible). Still, that could be hiccups on our end, our device, the network or just some early kinks--others seem to be having more success. The important note here is, technically speaking, you can stream Pandora via IE9 as advertised.

Source: PRNewsWire; Thanks, @burnethanol, Lerimer S. and Damian M., for the heads up!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • just a tip for those using can increase the volume by changing the end of the url string to 100 if you want full volume or 60 or w/e....the fact that this runs like a metro app (you have access to it using the volume control buttons) through html 5 is awesome. the sad news that mango will take longer to get here has been healed by this cool new feature for me with the RTM build
  • I've had the same issue with it being extremely quiet and fairly sluggish. I havn't tried it with headphones yet, I wonder how that'll affect it.
  • Sounds like it'll be fun to play around with. It'll be cool not having to use an app for Pandora. Has anyone tested if the music plays when it's a background tab?These issues don't seem like deal breakers. I'm sure they can fix them.
  • This is pretty rad for the most part. Save for it basically being inaudible... But the fact that it does "work," and specifically because it plays in the background, is pretty killer.
  • I have the latest RTM Mango and the Pandora plays at really good quality. I have a portable bluetooth speaker that I use for my Windows Phone 7 HD7 and Pandora sounds high quality through just the IE9. The stream is actually patched through the Zune player, so when you close the browser it still plays. You can even use the pause and play button from the drop down box that shows Now playing track when you hit the volume button. It doesnt allow you to skip the track, but if you hit the empty space within that drop down area it will open IE9 with the Pandora site. Then you will need to skip tracks with the actual skip button on the site. Yes it is really slow, but when you set your station all you need is to set it and forget it!!
  • For those who can barely hear the music you can set the volume higher than 100 in the URL. I have a Trophy and 150 is perfect for me. (/volume/150)
  • I actually changed my volume to 200 and it works great now. Another thing to note here is the ability to use the Bing music search feature and after te song is identified go straight to the marketplace and make your purchase or if you have a Zune pass like I do,just download...