Slacker for BlackBerry Hands-on Impressions

85 Comments

Slacker for BlackBerry

There are times in life when you anticipate something for so long and it fails to deliver. On the other hand, there are times when things turn out to be more than you expected. I have been using Slacker.com, the personal internet radio, on my computer for the last few months, ever since the BlackBerry application was announced at CTIA this past fall. At CES, after months of anticipation, Slacker launched their BlackBerry application for devices with OS 4.3 and above (4.5+ is best). In short, it is magnificent.


Slacker’s BlackBerry application has two levels: a free version with commercials from time to time and a limit of six song-skips per hour (which is plenty, especially if you make your own station) and a premium version. The premium version provides for unlimited skips, no audio or banner ads, and unlimited song requests for $3.99 a month.

To download the free Slacker application, simply point your BlackBerry browser to http://www.slacker.com. Once the application is downloaded, it will ask you if you have a user name and password. Creating your own station at Slacker.com is the best way to get the right music for you. I created my own station, which is mainly comprised of bands from the 90’s with some music from today. When I log in, I am able to pick that same station that I’ve created on my computer. If you are in the mood for a different type of music, you can create additional radio stations and then choose from any of them, both on the web and on your BlackBerry.

An exclusive feature reserved for the BlackBerry is station caching. Station caching allows you to store 100 songs per station, up to 10 stations, on your device for those times where you have no service, such as airplanes, or if you want to minimize battery impact. The station caching requires a memory card with at least 500mb of space. Caching a station is a snap. Simply fire up the application on your device, select the station, select Cache Highlighted Station, wait for the application to sign you in, plug your device into your PC, turn on Mass Storage mode, then on your PC, select the option that says “Sync Slacker Stations.” The Slacker station loader will start and it will add 100 songs per station that you select. Once you have completed the caching, you no longer need to have data service to play these songs. Check out the video below and screenshots in the gallery to see how easy it is to cache your stations.

Once you are in the application and you’ve picked the station you’d like to rock out, you are able to Play/Pause, Skip, Favorite (play this song more often), and Block (won’t play the song again) the song. Additionally, you can check out each artist’s bio to find out more about the band, get an album review, and even ban the artist.

Overall, I love Slacker. The use of cover art, the excellent audio quality, and the usability of the application (especially the station caching), makes Slacker one of my favorite applications on the BlackBerry. There are some additional features that I would like to see in future releases. Being able to edit bands and songs in custom stations, permission to cache more than 100 songs, creating new custom stations, and adding social media sharing of stations, such as being able to post the station link to twitter, facebook, and delicious would really enhance the experience, as well as make it easier to share your stations with your friends. To be fair, they do have an “Add to MySpace” button available. For those of you using Slacker, what would you add to make it an even more amazing experience? If you’re curious, you can check out my personal station.

Have any questions about the Slacker BlackBerry application? Drop us a line in the comments and we’ll help you get it sorted out.

  • Ron K.

    Thanks for the reply back. I will reboot my device & it should do the trick hopefully. If there is anything else I need to know more regarding the un-caching on free space, I’m all ears. Have a good day!

  • http://www.salesby5.com/ Nan Palmero

    @Ron K if the issue persists, try hitting up the Slacker Forums, their tech gurus are very attentive – http://forums.slacker.com/slacker-blackberry-application-f173.html

  • http://www.salesby5.com Nan Palmero

    @Ron K if the issue persists, try hitting up the Slacker Forums, their tech gurus are very attentive – http://forums.slacker.com/slacker-blackberry-application-f173.html

  • dan smith

    Please change the strapline from anywher to ‘only in the US’ to reflect the unfortunate facts for you international visitors

  • dan smith

    Please change the strapline from anywher to ‘only in the US’ to reflect the unfortunate facts for you international visitors

  • Richard G.

    I recently got the BB 8350i and I constantly get a white screen when trying to boot up. I believe this is an issue with the app though, as others have reported the same issue in Crackberry’s forums as well.

  • Richard G.

    I recently got the BB 8350i and I constantly get a white screen when trying to boot up. I believe this is an issue with the app though, as others have reported the same issue in Crackberry’s forums as well.

  • Bob Bellin

    It locks up on my 8330 (curve) and also caused e-mail conflicts. Once I removed it everything was fine. It may work better on the Bold and Storm, but Sprint store tech said that she has heard anecdotally that it’s buggy.

  • Bob Bellin

    It locks up on my 8330 (curve) and also caused e-mail conflicts. Once I removed it everything was fine. It may work better on the Bold and Storm, but Sprint store tech said that she has heard anecdotally that it’s buggy.

  • CD

    I love the caching, although even the online GPRS (no 3G here) play is better reception than normal radio in my area.

    I plug my Bold into an “aux adapter” from Logjam Electronics that I originally used for a Sony NetMD and then iPod, for use in my car.

    My music goes mute, and I can hear a little tiny ring tone from the Bold on incoming calls. Lack of music is really my cue. I can answer the call on a BT headset, but I haven’t figured out how to answer if I don’t have my headset on. When I hang up the call, the music is unmuted.

    The online caching update is dog slow, though. It took 133 minutes to cache seven stations. uncache doesn’t work, as nearly as I can tell. You have to “reset account” and start over, so the 133 minutes was for a full load.

    700 songs on my Berry. That’s more than I need to listen to over a period of a month or so, and the refresh is fresh, not the two year old songs on my ipod collection.

    This is nearly perfect.
    I signed up for the subscription,even though I had no issues at all with the free version. I want to pay them, so they stay in business. This beats sat radio hands down. The sat radio cuts out in the mountains around here.

    Oddly enough, the only radio station that comes in around here is KCBS news, so that fills the one lack in cached Slacker for me.


    Clarence A Dold – Hidden Valley Lake, CA, USA GPS: 38.8,-122.5

  • CD

    I love the caching, although even the online GPRS (no 3G here) play is better reception than normal radio in my area.

    I plug my Bold into an “aux adapter” from Logjam Electronics that I originally used for a Sony NetMD and then iPod, for use in my car.

    My music goes mute, and I can hear a little tiny ring tone from the Bold on incoming calls. Lack of music is really my cue. I can answer the call on a BT headset, but I haven’t figured out how to answer if I don’t have my headset on. When I hang up the call, the music is unmuted.

    The online caching update is dog slow, though. It took 133 minutes to cache seven stations. uncache doesn’t work, as nearly as I can tell. You have to “reset account” and start over, so the 133 minutes was for a full load.

    700 songs on my Berry. That’s more than I need to listen to over a period of a month or so, and the refresh is fresh, not the two year old songs on my ipod collection.

    This is nearly perfect.
    I signed up for the subscription,even though I had no issues at all with the free version. I want to pay them, so they stay in business. This beats sat radio hands down. The sat radio cuts out in the mountains around here.

    Oddly enough, the only radio station that comes in around here is KCBS news, so that fills the one lack in cached Slacker for me.


    Clarence A Dold – Hidden Valley Lake, CA, USA GPS: 38.8,-122.5

  • CD

    I love the caching, although even the online GPRS (no 3G here) play is better reception than normal radio in my area.

    I plug my Bold into an “aux adapter” from Logjam Electronics that I originally used for a Sony NetMD and then iPod, for use in my car.

    My music goes mute, and I can hear a little tiny ring tone from the Bold on incoming calls. Lack of music is really my cue. I can answer the call on a BT headset, but I haven’t figured out how to answer if I don’t have my headset on. When I hang up the call, the music is unmuted.

    The online caching update is dog slow, though. It took 133 minutes to cache seven stations. uncache doesn’t work, as nearly as I can tell. You have to “reset account” and start over, so the 133 minutes was for a full load.

    700 songs on my Berry. That’s more than I need to listen to over a period of a month or so, and the refresh is fresh, not the two year old songs on my ipod collection.

    This is nearly perfect.
    I signed up for the subscription,even though I had no issues at all with the free version. I want to pay them, so they stay in business. This beats sat radio hands down. The sat radio cuts out in the mountains around here.

    Oddly enough, the only radio station that comes in around here is KCBS news, so that fills the one lack in cached Slacker for me.


    Clarence A Dold – Hidden Valley Lake, CA, USA GPS: 38.8,-122.5

  • CD

    I changed my mind about the speed of the caching.
    I checked it again, and it is coming in at 143KBpS on my 1.5Mbps DSL line.
    That’s ~full speed.
    The cached data is 960MB on my 4GB SD card.

    I love this product on my Blackberry Bold.

  • CD

    I changed my mind about the speed of the caching.
    I checked it again, and it is coming in at 143KBpS on my 1.5Mbps DSL line.
    That’s ~full speed.
    The cached data is 960MB on my 4GB SD card.

    I love this product on my Blackberry Bold.

  • Ana

    I downloaded slacker on my Blackberry Curve 8330 and it will make it turn off from time to time. This is happening to my husband’s blackberry as well. What could it be. It just freezes and reboots the phone.

    Any suggestions, I really like the Slacker!!!!

    Ana

  • Ana

    I downloaded slacker on my Blackberry Curve 8330 and it will make it turn off from time to time. This is happening to my husband’s blackberry as well. What could it be. It just freezes and reboots the phone.

    Any suggestions, I really like the Slacker!!!!

    Ana

  • ed

    Slacker used to crash my curve all the time. Their updates tend be more and mores table. They have now released a 2.0 version in the last few days which has not crashed my curve yet. Make sure you are running the latest.

  • ed

    Slacker used to crash my curve all the time. Their updates tend be more and mores table. They have now released a 2.0 version in the last few days which has not crashed my curve yet. Make sure you are running the latest.

  • Michael

    I miss be missing something. In the “caching” instructions above it says “then on your PC, select the option that says “Sync Slacker Stations.” This application is installed on my Blackberry not my pc. Therefore there is no options on my PC related to Slacker Radio for caching or anything else. Am I missing something??

  • Michael

    I miss be missing something. In the “caching” instructions above it says “then on your PC, select the option that says “Sync Slacker Stations.” This application is installed on my Blackberry not my pc. Therefore there is no options on my PC related to Slacker Radio for caching or anything else. Am I missing something??

  • CD

    The slacker.synclauncher.exe is on your Blackberry.
    When connected to a Windows PC via USB, the Blackberry provides two disk volumes to Windows. One is the internal memory, one is the Media Card.

    I go to drive “S:” and double-click slacker.synclauncher.exe

    The first time, this transfers a lot of data, 100 songs per cached station. Mine is over a Gig with 12 stations cached.

    After that, a sync only changes some of the cached songs, so it doesn’t take anywhere near as long.

  • CD

    The slacker.synclauncher.exe is on your Blackberry.
    When connected to a Windows PC via USB, the Blackberry provides two disk volumes to Windows. One is the internal memory, one is the Media Card.

    I go to drive “S:” and double-click slacker.synclauncher.exe

    The first time, this transfers a lot of data, 100 songs per cached station. Mine is over a Gig with 12 stations cached.

    After that, a sync only changes some of the cached songs, so it doesn’t take anywhere near as long.

  • CD

    The slacker.synclauncher.exe is on your Blackberry.
    When connected to a Windows PC via USB, the Blackberry provides two disk volumes to Windows. One is the internal memory, one is the Media Card.

    I go to drive “S:\” and double-click slacker.synclauncher.exe

    The first time, this transfers a lot of data, 100 songs per cached station. Mine is over a Gig with 12 stations cached.

    After that, a sync only changes some of the cached songs, so it doesn’t take anywhere near as long.

  • Lissy

    I can’t figure out how to shut it off. When I use the “back” button, which usually ends whatever task I was doing, the slacker still plays

  • Lissy

    I can’t figure out how to shut it off. When I use the “back” button, which usually ends whatever task I was doing, the slacker still plays

  • Lissy

    NM I figured it out

  • Lissy

    NM I figured it out

  • Dan

    Anyone have problems getting the app to work with BB-8900? set up acct but login always fails

  • Dan

    Anyone have problems getting the app to work with BB-8900? set up acct but login always fails

  • Dan

    Anyone have problems getting the app to work with BB-8900? set up acct but login always fails

  • Nancy

    While playing Slacker on my Blackberry, how do you turn it off? I can get to other applications, but the song still plays.

  • Nancy

    While playing Slacker on my Blackberry, how do you turn it off? I can get to other applications, but the song still plays.

  • Nancy

    While playing Slacker on my Blackberry, how do you turn it off? I can get to other applications, but the song still plays.

  • Midwestbowl

    answering old question from Nancy in case someone else searching as I was. Eventually accidentally stumbled on option trying to stay awake at work at 4AM. Of course, turns out that to shut down Slacker all you do is hit the menu button and scroll down to shut down… It's a fantastic feature that it keeps playing otherwise!

  • Chazzm

    I just tried it and it locked up my blackberry curve so I had to remove the battery to restart it!!!