Internet Radio is one of the things that I like most about the Internet. Having moved around a lot, it’s nice to be able to continue listening to the radio stations that I’ve become accustomed to. Finding an Internet Radio application for Windows Mobile that is worth the cost isn’t the easiest task. SPB Software came out with their Internet Radio App (SPB Radio) late last month to good reviews.
Resco Pocket Radio includes the standard control set that you would expect with an Internet Radio application. Play/pause and volume controls are located in the bottom right corner of the screen (when using the default skin anyway). The remainder of the application is dominated by the favorites list, which can be customized through the “All Stations” list.
When it comes to the technical side of Internet Radio Stations, there are just a handful of popular formats. MP3 and OGG streams are supported by Pocket Radio, while WMA and Real Audio are not. I REALLY would’ve liked to see WMA supported at a minimum.
One thing that I was surprised to see in Pocket Radio was the ability to actually record a stream. Not only could the location of the saved file be specified but you could even schedule a recording to take place in the future. This is a pretty handy feature in case you want to hear a talk show after the fact. Recordings are saved in MP3 format.
Resco also kept battery life in mind when they were designing this app. There is a button on the interface to allow you to turn off the screen quickly and easily. There is also a setting to turn off the screen after a set period of inactivity. A sleep timer is included as well.
One thing that is often a problem with Streaming services is a lack of bandwidth. If you are on a slow or unstable connection, often times your listening experience becmoes unbearable very quickly. Pocket Radio offers some settings to define how much of a buffer to download before it starts playing. (For the uninitiated, streaming applications download a "buffer" before playing. This gives you 5-10 seconds for your data connection to recover before playback is affected.)
For those of you that use premium services to stream your music, Pocket Radio has an Accounts option that allows you to input your username and password to authenticate. It is worth noting however that this feature isn’t documented very well, and a cursory glance through the forums reveals some services that are not fully supported. The moral of this story is that if you are hoping to use this with a premium service, give the trial version a run through before you drop your cash.
Resco has a winner in Pocket Radio, but the $19.95 price tag is pretty hefty for what it offers. For just $10 more you could have a major media player like Kinoma that does Internet Radio and so much more. If the price was set at the same $9.95 that SPB Radio is set at this would be a much more competitive product.
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