Beauty of Choice: The Mobile Realm (Pt. 1)

I’d love to say I’ve found one ROM that meets all my (sometimes ridiculous) needs, is super fast and stable, and supports all my apps, but it just hasn’t happened yet. I’m addicted to the idea of managing my blog from my phone so I’m hesitant to go to Gingerbread again, but I’m getting kind of annoyed with some of the things on Liberty 2.0. Yes, the pros still outweigh the cons. The main pro for staying with Liberty at least another week being the massive amounts of customizations. My Oreo Slice + 4G + Slight Honeycomb hacked together theme looks just fantastic to me. Custom transition animations and custom pulldown back ground help me make my phone truly mine. More on this subject and others after the break! Continue reading

Songbird for Android 1.0

Songbird has long been one of my favorite opensource media players, specifically in the music library management segment, and somehow I missed the Android release of their source. It’s pretty snazzy, and if you don’t mind the dark purple theme, Songbird for Android has proven to be speedy, lightweight, and stable. I don’t like how it doesn’t support landscape, but aside from that it brings a lot of missing features to the Android platform. Music playback is one area I believe Google just keeps skipping over (not that big a deal as the rest of the OS continues to be enhanced excellently) and Songbird is just one of many apps vying to fill the gap.

There’s a lot that music apps need to pull off, especially with iPhone users touting their fantastic built in iPod integration. Appearance, speed, ease of use and a quick access widget are essential in my eyes. The lockscreen widget didn’t work out so well on my unofficial Android release, but it’s a common problem I’ve had on most ROMs. Lockscreen widgets, aside from Ultimate Droid’s implementation, never really work out. The quick pull up for the Now Playing is cool, but it feels less like a music player and more like a music browser. I’m not sure how to describe it. I like PlayerPro’s fullscreen option, making it feel more like an MP3 player and the like. Navigation is lightening quick in the app, zero lag. This could also be due to the fact that it didn’t load any of my album/artist art from the ID3 tags and failed to pull any in over WiFi. It did, however, pull up a Photostream for common artists (Strongbad apparently not in that list). This was cool, but probably not functional. I hate to bring it up again, but PlayerPro does a great job of caching both artist and album art. Both work fantastic and don’t use any more bandwidth than you need versus the pretty much wifi only option in Songbird. The “Like” button is cool for sharing songs on Facebook and I’m sure a lot of users will be excited by that.

Overall, there’s not much to critique except for the picky things I like from other apps. This is app is fast, stable, and decent looking. I’d highly recommend it as a jumping off point for new Android users. Using this app for syncing between your Android handset and the desktop Songbird should help ease the transition for a lot of (former) iPhone users.

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