Pandora for Android hands on: It’s not ugly anymore!

pandora for android update 2012 hands on

The folks at Pandora have always been rather fond of their Android audience. As they should be. Since releasing its first mobile apps in 2009, Pandora has seen a 1,585 percent increase in its mobile audience. Despite this huge increase in on-the-go audience, the Pandora Android app has gone relatively unchanged. Today, Pandora makes amends with an update that brings a complete redesign.

While the mobile market has been good to Pandora in terms of users — it has 50-100 million Android users alone —  the streaming radio service’s apps have left a lot to be desired. Because the Android user base is so fragmented, it’s hard to create an app that works on every device. The revamped version of Pandora adheres to the new style guidelines for Android apps set by Google, which ideally will optimize its functionality and accessibility across the Android market.

The app sports a new blue and white skin that makes it far more aesthetically pleasing. One thing that is oddly unchanged is the widget, which still uses the same black and white color scheme as the old app. The button layout also remains the same on the widget. It could have just been passed over in the process, but considering the actual function of the widget didn’t change, it’s kind of surprising Pandora didn’t slap a new coat of paint on it. Nonetheless, it functions how you’d expect and looks just fine as it is.

More important than the color pallet (unless you’re worried about having your music app make your eyes or something) is the in-app navigation, which also got touched upon in the redesign. While the standard playback buttons are in the same place, the controls for other options like buying or bookmarking a  track have been moved to a drop down menu. This is an improvement over hiding them on the Menu button, though tapping the Menu button will reveal their new location as well.

If you’re looking to learn more about the song that is currently playing, you’ll no longer have to aim to hit the tiny information button. Instead, a sizable button that shrinks and expands the album art reveals details about the artist and the song. Both are presented as snippets and you can choose what you’d like to read more about. Track information details why Pandora selected songs for your station as well as similar songs. When available, song lyrics also appear. Artist information includes a full biography, discography, and similar artists.

The Pandora for Android app revamp doesn’t feel so much like a total renovation as much as it does slight remodel. It’s not a new house for Android users, but it’s a new coat of paint and some shifted furniture. It’s noticeable enough and it improves the overall functionality of the product, but don’t expect a lot of new functionality. There are already millions of Pandora users that are listening to streaming music on their commutes or in their cubicles. Odds are, this isn’t going to scare any of them away. You can download the update from the Google Play store and give it a shot yourself.