Android Pandora App

EDIT: I have ordered a HTC Rezound. Thank you for your support.

Short version: I’m gauging interest in an Android app. Are you interested in donating for me creating an Android app?

Long version: So, I’ve been asked many times in the past if I would write a version of my Pandora client for <insert smartphone here>. I will say flat out: Exempting a major turnaround in Apple’s choice of language, an iOS Pandora app from me will never happen. Good hardware, but obj c and apple’s corporate policies can sod right off. Windows Phone would be the simplest to port to, however I have minimal interest in the platform. So, WP port is unlikely, and not going to happen under my own power. This leaves Android. (or symbian, trolololol)

Right now, I use this phone – it cost me $5, it makes calls, and it has this nifty alarm feature. Gets the job done. For the last years, I’ve really thought smartphones were silly, overpriced devices that could barely make calls competently. This was true at the start, but having recently evaluated phones for a friend, I have to admit, capabilities have jumped by an order of magnitude since the smartphone arms race kicked off. Not so much glorified PDAs with phone features anymore. It would be nice to have one, but simply, I can’t afford one, and I can make it without one.

Given that I don’t own an Android smartphone, there’s no point in learning a new platform and language I’ve not touched for years to write something I can’t use. Yes, I’m aware there are cheap tablets – I have no interest in them as a platform; good for consuming content, but that’s about it. Laptop does just about everything they do just as well. I’m also aware that there is an Android emulator/simulator; there’s just no point in going through the effort to make something that I could never use.

The bottom line is this: I’m trying to see how many people would be interested in donating towards me creating an Android Pandora app. If enough people donate so that I can buy a current smartphone, I will create a Pandora app for Android.

The primary purpose of the app would not be for saving music, however, it would have an ability to ‘cache’ tracks on your phone and use songs from your phone’s library in order to reduce bandwidth transferred. What that means is, a certain amount of tracks would be kept on your phone that were played on Pandora, and if Pandora decides to play those tracks again, it would use the local copy instead of downloading it again. Ditto if the song is already in your library. Unlimited skips and no ads go without saying.

Anyone interested?

67 thoughts on “Android Pandora App

  1. I WOULD LOVE AN ANDROID APP!!! I thank you very much for the work that you have done so far and look forward to things to come! Keep up the AWESOME work to all the Devs that have put in the time to help make this a possibility.

  2. Remeber I mentioned it at the forum.
    This will be a great idea .
    Please do it and thank you for considering it
    Good job!

  3. I have been using the Pandora mobile apps on Android and iOS devices for several years now and find them to be lacking (except for the iPad version). They don’t seem to have any interest in finding ways to improve the interface or add any new features. I made a donation as a bet that you can make it better. Regardless of whether or not you can make the Android app happen, you have my support!

  4. Meh. I have an adroid phone, but I primarily use saver2 on my desktop. Thanks a lot for your hard work dude!

  5. I don’t even have an Android Phone, but I am a fan of free software. I will kick a few bucks your way sir. You do good works.

  6. Please cache songs by channel and allow offline playback of channels. A user configurable cache size and removing songs on thumbs-down would be awesome!

    (Just donated, thanks for your programs which allow legal time-shifting of media!)

    • Thanks for the donation. Yeah, cache size and options would be configurable. Offline playback, I’m not sure about. We’ll see how it goes.

  7. Hey i write software using Unity3D for android and iOS. You should let me know if there’s something i can help out with….

  8. Very Very yes! Seriously interested. Don’t listen to pandora as much on pc, so this would be amazing. pull songs while at home so that i can save battery, and not have to sync with desktop all the time!

  9. Definitely interested in this, would be much easier (and less data-hungry) than the TeamViewer work-around that I’ve been experimenting with. If you’re looking for a cheap Android phone and service, and you’re not tied down to a network right now, I would suggest looking at republicwireless.com – I was interested in it myself, but Verizon’s got my family locked up for a while to come. It wouldn’t be the newest phone or operating system, but it’ll help you get the basic Android familiarity that you seem to be seeking – from there, I believe most developers use an emulator provided by Android itself to make their app friendly to as many systems as possible.

    Oh, and I’m definitely willing to provide a little financial support for this as well.

    • Yeah, Verizon has their claws in my family as well, though we do get a 25%? discount, forgot why. Ended up getting a Rezound.

  10. Ooh, that is brilliant. I wasn’t very interested until I saw the “caching” idea in which the local copy of a track is used. That would be great for battery life and for those times when you have a poor signal.

    The only downside is that once this app is fully functional and available, I’ll have to find other ways to use up my 4GB data plan. :-p

    • Heh. Having no baseline on how much data I’d use on a smartphone, anything that saves data usage is a good idea, I think.

      Actually, another bonus is if you had decent quality files on the device itself (your library), you’d get higher quality audio when one of those files could be used instead. Plus some battery life.

  11. This sounds like an awesome idea. The default client isn’t very innovative as you mentioned before… so there is certainly room for improvement. The features you mention would be useful and definitely catch interest from those who regularly lurk the market for apps n’ such.

    I’ve been using Saver2 for years now and would be willing to support any development for Android!

  12. This is a great idea, I actually recently was search google for this exact app! You mentioned that “caching” is the purpose of the app. The option to “save” songs to my phone would be 90% of the reason I would use such an app. Are you planning on allowing us to “save” songs like we currently can with Saver2 for the desktop even though it is not the primary function of the app?

    • The cache will just be files on the sd card; in theory you could copy them and do what you wished, but they aren’t going to be tagged or anything. It’s meant to save data transfer, not so much saving music.

        • I’d prefer to not attract any more attention from pandora, and honestly, it (this pandora app) is meant for listening; saving music is just a beneficial side effect, in my view.

          • I suppose that makes sense. A bummer though… I pay for Pandora now and being able to create my own playlists off music I found on Pandora is great.

  13. An android app would be great!
    Btw have you heard of Xamarin’s MonoDroid? You could write android app with c#, no need to port to java that way.

    • I’d have to re-implement all the most important things, and honestly, the player as it is simply is not suited for a mobile layout. The API isn’t terribly complicated itself, it’s getting the music out and providing a UI that’s really the most difficult bits.

  14. I’d pay $5 for a “caching” Pandora app. I’m a regular user of your app, mostly just for the desktop client and HQ. I use T-Mobile and I regularly drive about an hour and a half, with 45 minutes of no signal in between. I am far too lazy/un-creative to pick songs and put them on my phone. This would certainly do the trick.

  15. There already is an Android app for Pandora, but it’s not the best. There’s also a cracked version that can be sideloaded which provided unlimited skips and no ads, which I have used in the past.

    If you do manage to get enough money, I would recommend getting a Galaxy Nexus (unlocked for $350), as those are the standard developer devices at the moment. They’re the ones Google makes and uses for development, and they get updates before all other phones. It’s arguably the best Android phone on the market, at the moment. Well technically, it’s not on the market at this *exact* moment due to an injunction by Apple, but it’ll be available for purchase again soon.

    Also, if you do make the app, please read the USER INTERFACE GUIDELINES:
    http://developer.android.com/guide/practices/ui_guidelines/index.html

    And don’t make the app look anything like your desktop Pandora client. The desktop client is great in terms of functionality, but dreadful in terms of aesthetics and usability. Follow the Android UI Guidelines, look at other audio apps on the platform (“Play Music” is a good example — it’s Google’s native music player). Too many app developers still ignore the guidelines, and create horrible looking apps as a result. Don’t be one of those people.

    Good luck!

    • Oh, god, yeah, the desktop app is relatively hideous. It would be incredibly daft to try to port that, never mind with anything resembling the current UI. Makes more sense to write a new one. UI is going to be fairly simple, really.

      I ended up getting a HTC Rezound, which I posted first impressions of yesterday. Considered the galaxy nexus, but I didn’t really care for it, overall.

  16. Where’s the donate button! Congrats on the Phone. I guess I got the GNex you didn’t like. Since I am land locked at 16GB a “rotating” cache of songs that isn’t constantly sucking at the teat of AT&T would be awesome.

    • Ought to be a donate link in the body of the post somewhere. I admit, I didn’t really get a chance to play with the nexus, as the store I went to’s gnex wouldn’t turn on for more than 10s. Got to look at the screen, but not much else. Additionally, it was rather significantly more expensive than the resound. Nice phone, but didn’t really care for the aesthetics of it. (same for the S III )

  17. SO much interest in an Android app. The note to come here and weigh in is the single best line item I’ve ever seen in any changelog.

  18. I am very interested in this project. Although there is an adfree/unlimited skip version out there, I’m all for the ‘cached’ tracks feature. I’d love the ability to play the files in PlayerPro (tagged), but I can understand where you’re coming from in regards to that.

  19. Of course I would be interested in the app and on donating. Just when I was thinking about switching to an iPhone. Time to re-consider.

    • Just curious, why were you thinking of switching? Having used ipod touches/iphones in the past, it seems to me that android beats the ever loving crap out of them. Can’t really think of a case that I preferred the iOS handling, really.

      • Well, a lot of the apps on the iphone are better than their android counterparts. Instagram is one of them. And a lot of the times, there are iphone apps only, like spotify radio, which is great. Also the iphone has arguably the best camera for any any smartphone, not to mention great battery life, which I really need. At the moment I have a rooted HTC Evo 4G and while the phone is pretty cool and fast, the battery is horrendous. 3 hours browsing the web compared to 7+ for the iphone.

  20. I have kicked $70 your way so far and I did inquire about an android app previously. I use grooveshark much more than Pandora so I don’t know how much use it would be for me. I had been using Dood’s Music Streamer to access GS’s servers but that quit working. The GS android app is pretty glichy and gives errors on most songs for me. I would be interested in a Pandora client for android but I would only use it if I could listen over 3g and not just cache. Thank you for all your hard work ZZJ.

    • Oh, yes, listening to pandora is the major thing – the caching is just to save bandwidth on 3g/4g/whatever by using a copy of the song pandora said to play that is on the phone already.

  21. If you had a Pay-Pal button up I’d fork over the cash right now. Awesome work with Saver and Saver2. Thanks!!

    • Actually, I do, but it’s hidden under the saver2 menu at the top of the site. Figured it would be tacky to put it out in the open.

  22. I’d definitely love to have an Android app! I remember asking you if you’d ever make one and at the time you said no. I’m so glad you changed your mind!

  23. Definitely have interest in the android app. Willing to help with some UI dev or functionality if necessary. I have an amateuristic knowledge of Android Dev (A college class, personal research, etc).

  24. First off, I love Pandora Saver2 on the desktop. While a bit rough around the edges, it does get the job done. I do have a few suggestions for this new Pandora App you are working on. The first is to have the Pandora app show up on your lock screen. Currently, the Pandora app requires you to unlock your phone in order to skip tracks or pause. Either a widget on the lock screen or volume controls would be nice. Secondly, cross-fading between songs would be AWESOME!!! I have yet to see an app that does this effectively or at all (including Google Music’s app). Lastly, if this new app will read your SD card, will it read the title it is saved under or would it read the tag file (metadata) of the music? I figure it would be complicated to read if someone has a custom library with bunch of messed up tags. Anyway, I thank you for your contribution and for taking the time to read this. I just wanted to put my two cents in. I’m in a bit of a tough situation right now, but I will donate once I have a little extra cash. Thanks.

    • There’s an API called MediaStore responsible for indexing files on android storage devices (fetching meta etc). Should be able to query it. If not, I’d just check filesnames.

      Cross-fading – won’t happen; not possible in a clean manner.

      Controls on lock screen – would be nice, but I have no idea if it’s possible for a user app to do so. Have only seen the HTC music app display controls on lock screen, so far, though I haven’t done much research in this area.

      • I would say creating a Widgetlocker Widget for your app would be the best way to implement this feature for lockscreen controls. Other then that its very complicated to add such a thing to a vast amount of android devices. Best of luck ZigZagJoe! Keep up the good work :) Ill be waiting to test this out!

  25. Donate is a definite! Please email me, and I will donate. I’m a poor college kid myself, so don’t think I can do more than 10 bucks, but definitely well deserved! The biggest issue I have with Pandora’s app is, since I’m on a slower network (Sprint), there’s a noticeable silence gap of about 5 seconds between all songs. An AWESOME idea would be to start caching the next song before the current one is done. Again, hit me up for a donation when ready…or even (if Google doesn’t receive a take-down) offer it as a paid app on Google Play.

  26. I have an android, but I don’t listen to online music stations ‘cz I don’t have an unlimited data plan. The only way I can listen to music if I load it on via USB to phone. I share my data plan with 5 others so I got to watch my usage.

    • I have basically no free time at the moment, due to classes, so I’ve not made much progress recently :/

  27. I have a spare Android phone with Gingerbread (2.2.1). Its an LG Optimus T and its unlocked and rooted with a Custom CyanogenMod firmware. I don’t have the charger but it uses any Micro USB. If you or someone is willing to pay for the shipping (should fit nicely in a envelope with bubble wrap, so should be cheap) I would love to send it to you. My US zip code is 00680.

    As for the app itself, I would love the offline cache feature (for intermittent signal while driving, etc) and preventing low quality audio by forcing the max quality (I have Pandora One so 192kbps).

    Let me know if you are interested.

    • I appreciate the offer, but I ended up getting a rezound last year. Lacking for free time to work on app rather than hardware, now….

  28. Free time is a precious commodity and since we’re unlikely to be able to make this truly “profitable” for you – I am certainly sympathetic to the reasons not to bother. That said this would be a huge boon for me as I use Pandora on my phone every day and despise the official app. In short, this is far too cool an idea for me not to pledge my support and say all I can to encourage you along. Even if that means bumping an old thread and hoping against hope…

  29. I have been a huge fan of Saver2 for ages now. I am working with 0 income, but I also wanted to bump this ol thread and light that fire of inspiration. Thank you for your hard work and entertaining the idea of an app.

  30. I’ve been using Saver2 for quite some time, and if you are looking for donations for the Android app, please contact me at the email address supplied, I’ll see what I can do.

    KK

  31. I would donate as well as I own a note 3 and love your desktop app. It would solve my recent problems with other “modded” Pandora clients that randomly decide to stop working for no apparent reason with no ads. So,… When do we begin?

  32. I’ll pay for your phone and a month of any basic unlimited data plan of your choice of carrier if you just get the regular desktop one back in shape. Skip too many times and your forced to listen to ads, otherwise visit the laggy Pandora site. (My reason for using Pandora Saver)

    • Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about the skips and the ads – that’s done server-side. The only fix aside from skipping less it to make a new account; that has always fixed it thus far in my testing. I’ve taken some steps to try to minimize ads but I’m not really sure if it will help much. Only real solution is to get pandora one, as far as I can tell.

  33. You send me a link on how to donate and i will be more than happy to give a donation, i have never gave a donation before and this is the only place i would be willing cause you have been so much help to my family, friends and me. So thank you

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