updated 10:35 am EDT, Thu April 19, 2012
Spotify Android app remade
Spotify on Thursday addressed complaints over its Android app with a new preview version of its remake. The new version is completely remade and designed explicitly to support Android 4.0 phones like the Galaxy Nexus or One X. The UI change brings swipe-based navigation columns, extra-large artist artwork, and a Facebook-style slide-out menu.
The app as a whole is now meant to be much more of an independent entity than just a music playback tool, and will let users see each other's profiles and playlists. Visiting an artist's page now shows related artists, the first time the option has been available at all on mobile. Listeners can now stream 320Kbps on Android if their connection is consistently fast enough.
Spotify doesn't have a timetable for when the finished version of its Android remake will be ready, but it promises that folders and Last.fm scrobbling will be coming by the time the app is available regularly. The current preview requires that users enable Android's option to download apps from unknown sources.
We got the opportunity to try the new app ourselves, and it's a fundamentally more modern choice than the old version. It feels fully at home in the Android 4.0 environment, polished, and much more up to the level of the iOS version, if not beyond it. We're most embracing of the new profile views and the Now Playing ticker that stays on while you navigate elsewhere. We like to explore new music most based on what our friends are listening to, and you're encouraged to do it here.
To us, the only real quirk is that some of the common tasks are available only from the contextual menu (accessed by tapping the corner triangle button you see on each menu item). It took us a brief moment to figure out how to just play an album based on a track we found, or to add a song to a larger queue. Occasionally, we also noticed that it was harder to find an album or song that we liked, although this is more likely a virtue of Spotify's own search criteria rather than the app.
As a whole, however, the current Spotify app for Android is at last worth having after awhile using an old and crash-prone title. It's good enough that, if you're willing to pay $10 a month for a subscription service, we'd gravitate towards Spotify first, as good as Rdio and other challengers might be.