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.