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Pandora for Windows Phone 8 is now available and we go hands on

Pandora music has always been one of those apps that served as a metric for mobile platforms: so long as Windows Phone did not have it, it was behind. Luckily, last October Microsoft finally announced that indeed Pandora was coming to Windows Phone 8 in “early 2013” and a few weeks ago we had hints it was near.

Well, that day is today.

Yes, the official Pandora app for Windows Phone 8 can be downloaded from the Store and is now available in the US, Australia and New Zealand. What’s more, Microsoft carried through on their promise of an ad-free experience throughout the year. Indeed users won’t have to pay a dime to experience the premium Pandora experience on their Windows Phone.

In addition, the Windows Phone 8 Pandora app features some unique trimmings on it, including:Live Tiles (double wide, flip to reveal artist info) and Kid's Corner support. That latter feature will enable the explicit language filter automatically if the app is accessed via Microsoft's child controls on Windows Phone 8. Clever.

We’ve had an early chance to play with the app extensively and we’re impressed. It’s fast, smooth and the Live Tiles work perfectly. Having access to that amount of music (and entertainment like comedy) on our Windows Phone is quite fantastic, especially since the audio fidelity is quite high. Nothing in the app feels “ported” or rushed but rather built from the ground up for Windows Phone 8.

From doublewide Tiles that flip to reveal artist and track info, to the ability to pin numerous stations to your Start screen, the Windows Phone 8 Pandora app has it. If a track is playing that you want to purchase, simply head into the Xbox Music Store with one-click to buy. Equally, the app integrates with the social API on Windows Phone, meaning you can share the track you are listening to with ease to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or share the station with your contacts directly.

Watch our video hands on with the app to see Pandora in action, or just head here to the Windows Phone Store to get it now. Full press release below. [Note: links may take awhile to go "live" but it should happen soon enough]. 

Windows Phone 8 only, 512MB of RAM, region restricted.

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Pandora Extends Mobile Reach with Windows Phone

Microsoft to offer Windows Phone 8 customers ad-free personalized radio through 2013

OAKLAND, Calif., March 21, 2013 (8:30 a.m. EST) – Pandora (NYSE: P), the leading internet radio service, today announced the availability of its popular mobile app on the Windows Phone platform, extending the company’s leadership position as one of the top apps across all connected devices.

Through more than 1,000 integrations including smartphones and consumer electronics devices, Pandora continues to be an industry leader in mobile and device usage. More than 140 million registered users have accessed Pandora via a smartphone or tablet and more than 75 percent of Pandora's listening occurs on a mobile or other connected device.

Pandora listeners on Windows Phone 8 will enjoy ad-free personalized radio at no cost, courtesy of Microsoft, through the 2013 calendar year in addition to features unique to the platform, including Live Tiles and Kid’s Corner:

  • Live Tiles make the Windows Phone experience highly personalized, allowing people to easily access the features and apps where they spend most of their time. Pandora listeners can pin their favorite personalized radio stations right to the Start screen of their phone to see what’s currently playing at a glance and for easy access to stations recently played without having to launch the app.
  • Kid’s Corner offers a worry free way for Windows Phone customers to share their smartphone with the entire family. Launching Pandora in Kid’s Corner will automatically activate the explicit content filter for instant kid-friendly listening.

The extraordinary embrace of personalized radio on smartphones has enabled Pandora to reach massive scale in mobile listening and over 1 in 3 smartphone users in the US have listened to Pandora in the past month.

Pandora Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joe Kennedy said, “Pandora has reached a level of ubiquity that allows music fans to tune-in to the best internet radio anytime, anywhere and we are thrilled to bring the experience to even more mobile listeners through the highly personalized platform that Microsoft has created with Windows Phone.”

“Pandora pioneered the personal music experience with individualized stations and it’s a perfect match for Windows Phone, the first truly personal smartphone experience with unique features like Live Tiles and Kids Corner,” said Joe Belfiore, VP, Windows Phone Division, Microsoft Corp.  “Pandora for Windows Phone takes advantage of these features and more to deliver a free personalized music experience exclusive to the platform,” he continued.

Starting today, listeners in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand can download Pandora for Windows Phone 8 from Windows Phone Store at www.windowsphone.com/pandora. More details, including a video are available via the Microsoft Windows Phone News Room at www.windowsphone.com/blog.

ABOUT PANDORA

Pandora (NYSE: P) gives people music and comedy they love anytime, anywhere, through connected devices. Personalized stations launch instantly with the input of a single "seed" - a favorite artist, song, or genre. The Music Genome Project®, a deeply detailed hand-built musical taxonomy, powers the personalization of Pandora® internet radio by using musicological "DNA" and constant listener feedback to craft personalized stations from a growing collection of more than one million tracks. Tens of millions of people turn on Pandora every month to hear music they love. www.pandora.com

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

317 Comments
  • Wow. Finally it's here. A relief. Now everyone else can cry about Instagram and then God knows what else after that comes...
  • Right? From all the whining, I'm expecting this app to pay me to listen to music or something.
  • You don't get a check?
  • I got a pre paid visa card.
  • Exactly
  • It's an effective way to get apps developed for the platform. Existing users can enjoy these apps, and new users can consider WP as a viable alternative. It's really a win-win.
  • Just downloaded the application and they did a beautiful job I am really impressed.
  • Unfortuanly if your on wp7.8 you're SOL.  Will have to continue to use Remote Controlled.
  • Also S.O.L. in Canada, even on wp8, for now anyway. Looks like I will have to wait until wpcentral lets me know when to dload.
  • an intelligent comment from a Sooner.  Pandora on WP.  Better look up to see if the sky is falling!! :)  In all seriousness, agree with you completely.  Its much more than just having the Pandora service available.  While I'm a huge user of Pandora, I'm more excited that it is one less thing that will keep people from considering a WP8 device.  The more WP users the more motivation devs have to get their apps onto the platform.
  • Hahaha @the beginning of this post. :)
  • true.
  • Lol!! The brains stayed north of the red river! ;) Looks like you guys are doing just fine in the SEC! It still feels weird not seeing you guys on the schedule.
  • haha. North of the Red and Southeast of I-35 lol
    It definitely does feel weird.  I grew up a Longhorns fan and most of my friends and family bleed burnt orange. Have many friends in Norman and a few in Stillwater even. And my wife is a Raider.  Losing all of those natural rivalries is tough and I was against it at first but after a season it seems like a brilliant move so far.  Really if nothing else, it helped us get out of our own way with our obsession with only beating Texas.  Now that we no longer play them, every game is a must win.  Talent has always been there, even if not on par recruiting with Texas and OU in previous years.  Coaching and proper mindset was not until the move to the SEC.  Hopefully the success continues and hopefully we will be playing both Texas and OU in the future, either as conference mates if the Big 12 doesn't make it as currently constructed or in bowl games.
  • true.
  • Bring back iHeart!!!!!
  • Gonna download this but, iheartradio is missed. This will serve as a substitute until they bring there app back for win8.
  • Thankfully I have dl iheart before they removed it. It runs ok, but at least I can listen to my local station that is not available on other radio apps.
  • I had to uninstall it because it wouldn't play anything anymore.
  • +1
  • Been crying for wells Fargo app. Would love to see ae, gap, traktor, fidelity, etc. Pandora and instagram is useless to me. But I'm probably in minority.
  • No dude....wells fargo needs one -_-
  • +1 for missing Wells Fargo app
  • I need Wells Fargo and Mint.com apps, you are not alone. 
  • Wells and Capital One both are needed. The only one of my online accounts I can manage is BofA. If they can do it no reason the other major banks shouldn't. I could see smaller banks waiting for future platform growth, but for the small amount it would cost the major banks to develop an app, it's really a no risk move for them.
  • Did you try the Wells Fargo App in Web Apps?  I am using the PNC App and it's just like the website.  HTML5 is awesome.
  • I was told Wells Fargo is currently working on an app for WP8. Hopefully, it will be released soon.
  • Its a little to late. Every complaint I had about Pandora Xbox/Zune Music solved.
  • Facebook & Instagram
  • COOKIES
  • Once we get instagram there shouldnt be anything else to cry about except the ability to back up your games progress incase you have to perform a factory reset or you buy a new device
  • we still dont have ruzzle yet
  • People will find reasons... It's a crying shame too.
  • Yeah, after all the hate mail I sent them....
  • Graffiti Radio is better. It's the paid version of Pandora for free :)
  • Graffiti Radio is great.
  • It's better than the paid version of Pandora!  I tried Pandora, went back to Graffiti.  Pandora gave me the skip limit crap, even though I'm a Pandora One subscriber.  With Graffiti, I skip to my heart's content.
  • nope, just needed pandora, earths destruction diverted!
  • Yes!! Downloading now, been waiting for this since the WP8 announcement!!
  • No way I will use it
    Lets support the ones who have been here from day one
    Xbox music,slacker,lastfm,etc
  • or maybe you can use it and show pandora devs that there's a demand so they'll keep the API's for WP8 Updated and release regular updates. or maybe use it to show OTHER developers of other App's and Games that there is a demand for the Windows Phone Users for popular apps such as Pandora so maybe they'll see a user base and develop for us aswell? idk just saying.
  • Plus one flagz
  • Ditto
  • Oh dear God speak the truth!!
  • oh yeah I am totally gonna use an inferior app just for that reason....  Maybe we shouldnt use it so they stop wasting time on Pandora and make something better than Xbox Music? idk just saying.
  • @Flags; I 100% agree with that. The people.at Pandora kept telling me that there was no demand for a windows app, which I called their story as bullshit and directed them to wpc forums etc. I guess they finally gave in after so much hate mail.
  • I honestly don't understand the whole "there aren't enough users on WP for us to create an app" argument these companies are spewing. People try it, don't see the apps they need, and then go back to Android or iOS or whatever else it is they use. It makes no sense. Why wouldn't you want your company to be one of the trailblazers on Windows Phone? Case in point, iheartradio is losing users due to not having an app out. Now people will get used to Pandora if it's good enough. Same with Mint...now people are trying PageOnce. 
    I have had a more stable and satisfying experience on WP8 than on my iPhone 4 and my company gave me a Galaxy S3 to carry and I prefer my Windows Phone. They are stunting it's growth by refusing to stick their necks out. Can't the revenues from all of the millions of users on iOS and Android cover development costs for porting an app to WP? I have no idea how the economics work in app development, but if some of the generic alternatives out there can be made in someones spare time, how can a large company like Wells Fargo, not put out an app?
     
    rant over.  
  • You're right about what you said. I find it ridiculous that companies don't want to make an app for wp8. Comcast told me that because the Tech is so new that they can't keep up and that they may look into it, which I found that answer to be complete and utter bullshit. so I asked them why they released an app for crappberry even though that the h is newer than wp8? All he could.say was that wp8 tech is too new. By that time I got so fed up with his bullshit I told him that their lack of care to make their video feed work on wp8 and their total bullshit answers and excuses is a driving factor for me to leave Comcast(that and many other reasons they continuously fail at).
  • +1
  • Pandora links to XBox Music to let you buy the song you're currently listening to.
  • Cool. I like that about Shazam as well. I setup a Pandora account years ago and never used it. I'm pretty happy with it right now. Ad free helps.
  • It's your choice whether to use it or not. My preference is for apps to gain support so developers can see the demand and continue dedicating resources to it.
  • Check the Last.fm last updated date. I wouldn't call that support, the app is a joke. Slacker is meh, I much prefer Pandora and I already subscribe to Xbox Music and thoroughly enjoy it.
  • if you havent noticed slacker has updated IOS and Android no a new fresh UI that looks like WP
  • And Slacker is working on an updated app for WP8. They told me that when I inquired about it on FB.
  • Your logic makes no sense
  • I do agree for those that have been with us but Xbox music is expensive Pandora is free and so used to it Nokia music is alright I mainly feel bad for devs that built a 3rd party app for Pandora but metro radio was ok but very buggy not familiar with slacker or lastfm
  • Nokia Music
  • US only :(
  • Sucks
  • So we wait most of the week for a new app announcement and then somethings released that can't be used by all WP owners.
  • Whiners.
     
    joebelfiore ‏@joebelfiore 5 min
    BTW, (1) if link isn't working, just try again in a bit, and (2) for you non US folks, we'll try to find something else fun in a few days :)
  • Not whining just a minor frustration :)
    If pandora got released like any other app, then i wouldn't be bothered that it was US only.  But when you have a high profile person like Belfiore going on about something is coming then it is a bit frustrating when it is an app that only a small fraction of users can actually use.
  • It's not quite that simple. Pandora, while restricted in its availability to certain regions, is a high profile app that adds a lot of value (and credibility) to the WP platform.
  • And this is my issue with most of you people these days. Something isn't right and it's somehow MS, or WP fault. Please read, or search, because this is Pandora's choice. Enjoy.
  • I had a feeling it would be Pandora and even when MS announced it I didn't care. It's a service anyone outside the US can't use so can we all bitch now too?
  • ‏@joebelfiore
    BTW, (1) if link isn't working, just try again in a bit, and (2) for you non US folks, we'll try to find something else fun in a few days :)
  • you can change the locality of your phone, reboot and then download..it should work. There was even an article here about doing that
  • You beat me to it, I was going to post the same.
  • I changed the region on my device and that let me download it on my UK Microsoft Account =)
    Only problem is that when I sign in it gives me a region error; now I need is for Microsoft to support VPN's then it'll work...not sure if a proxy will work, but I don't know of a US Proxy server that I can actually trust to test it out =P
  • why not simply using the other service for music? its not like this would be the only offer :O
  • Pandora is free and easiest to use hopefully not as many bugs a metroradio which was also ok
  • Hidemyass.com
  • Ledgend! =D
    Works perfectly, thanks!
  • Not US only.
    "U.S., Australia and New Zealand"
  • Yep! I'm in Aus, downloaded, working great!
  • WOW, this is great....
  • Its so hard to choose which music app to focus on. Nokia, Pandora,Xbox,or the others. Sometimes too much choice is bad. Well for me it is
  • I agree. I'll give Pandora a try. This is the same with note apps and cloud storage apps, too many now
  • Last.fm, Spotify...
  • I use them based on certain uses. Xbox Music to listen to Music that I downloaded online and Local Artist Music that isn't on a streaming service, Spotify for all my Major Music and Playlist, and MetroRadio (Now Pandora lol) for just listening to find new songs/artist I like and if I'm having a party or get together (so no ones being rude and putting only the music they listen to on)
  • I've found Pandora's suggestion engine to be excellent. At least when compared to iHeartRadio.
  • lets just hope that nokia and xbox music will get it sorted out and work together. forget the rest
  • use them all :)
  • Pandora is free and Nokia music is free and I get the free thing but my monthly bill is high enough if Xbox music would lower price or incorporate with my Xbox live account I would consider but Xbox music is expensive
  • This needs to be promoted
  • I'm renewing my vows with WP8!
  • Ok, I'll be over here renewing my vows.
  • My bad I corrected it. Lol...it was early.
  • A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y. ;-)
  • Same here..
  • I just renewed my bowels...and ready to start the day!
  • I just washed some towels.
  • Just got back from killing some fowl.
  • Y is sometimes a vowel.
  • Why do dogs howl?
  • I just got kicked in the jowls.
  • Be happy, don't scowl.
  • Daniel's cats are on the prowl.
  • Yay!!!
  • Anyone else getting an error?
  • Me
  • I am
  • Finally it is here. Joe Belfiore teased about more apps on twitter. So this is it.
  • Hope there's more apps coming
  • Bingo. The day Instagram comes is the day I'm interested again 
  • I think its coming sooner than may
  • Wow, dude... what more can they do IN ONE SINGLE WEEK!?
  • Will try this app and see what all the rage is about. Reading that its built from the ground up for W8P is awesome.
  • Just downloaded, no error. Finally, we waited a long time, but its worth it!!
  • not available on finalnd.. yet, hope it comes tonight
  • Not appearing in the app store for me US... :/
  • Live tiles don't seem to be in HD. Text is very pixelated.
  • just as any rushed ported windows phone 8 app.
  • This doesn't look nor behave like a "rushed port".
  • The live tile sure does.
  • Yea, I put the live tile next to the WPC tile. Looks like they definitely goofed and put low res on the live tile. Anyone with a 8X/ATIV confirm? (920 owner)
  • Looks fine to me
  • This...is...great! And we still have 9 days left in March! Thanks Microsoft and Pandora!
  • What does march have to do with anything
  • lol people getting emotional because of an app...
  • Yeah! Just downloaded
  • Pandora is only available in the US where Windows Phone has a lower market share than in Europe for example.
    And in Europe, Pandora is not available.
    Isn't this funny?
    However this app is truly welcomed as Pandora is very popular in US.
    Now only if Instagram and 2 or 3 more titles would come, this hopefully make people stop complaining about missing apps.
    It's a very good and healtfy sign for Windows Phone platform because having a big name in the marketplace makes other big names create their app for Windows Phone too.
    That's the kind of news WIndows Phone news. Kudos to Belfiore and the team which made this happen!
    They need to accelarate the pace of releasing this apps, they lost some momentum making people wait for the apps.
     
  • Nice food for thoughts.
  • "U.S., Australia and New Zealand"
  • "they", as in who... Microsoft, or the app developers?
  • Microsoft.
    They need to work on bringing the top most popular applications on iOS and Android.
  • kill all the Pandora api ripoff clones now, out of respect if nothing else.  We have what we wanted, let the other apps die.
  • No, let the market choose.
  • No way. Not with Pandora not being released for 7.8. We still don't have an official version here.
  • I still use MetroRadio all the time. Keep the clones at least until (if ever) Pandora comes to 7
  • There's nothing wrong with a little loyalty. MetroRadio has stuck with me all these years!
  • Pandora doesn't have MetroRadio's disabling the lock screen and the Zunish screen saver and wallpaper. This is very cool for keeping your screen alive while driving...enables "likes" or "dislikes" without having to turn your device back on. Developer was also very responsive to personal requests.
  • This is huge for those considering WP8.
  • This great news!