Android music application doubleTwist has been updated with a new feature set to take on Pandora radio streaming. Dubbed Magic Radio, the $4 (£2.70) a month service offers 13 million songs that can be mixed by several categories.
Before Google Play Music hit the scene, doubleTwist was once a necessary application for playing back music on Android. But doubleTwist does offer some features that Google Play Music doesn't - such as easy access to a user's iTunes library through a separate desktop application.
Now the Magic Radio feature is built into the application, it is one of the first things a user will see when launching doubleTwist for the first time. A seven-week free trial is offered which, once over, will switch to Google Play subscriptions to continue. Once you're signed up for the service, it is placed on the homepage of doubleTwist.
There are five radios offered initially: Music You Love, Music You Discover, Hot Artists, Relax Mood and Coachella. From there you can build your own radios by playlists from your own music, genre, mood or specific song or artist you're currently into.
There are several genres offered, including big band, afrobeat, Australian hip-hop, freak beat and about 100 more - doubleTwist doesn't seem to miss anything, no matter what part of the world a listener is in (though this is US only).
To test Magic Radio, we built a station off Kendrick Lamar. Once the station was created, it worked like we'd expect, playing relevant songs and offering unlimited skips throughout, because of course, we're paying for it.
As far as specific functionality, there doesn't seem to be anything here that Pandora doesn't offer, except there are just way more songs available. According to doubleTwist, the 13 million songs it offers is more than 12 times what Pandora brings. Will you notice any big titles not available on Pandora? We doubt it.
Given doubleTwist's aim to offer an iTunes-like music experience on Android, the radio feature offers a useful advantage. It offers similar functionality to what we've seen elsewhere and at $4 a month, it's also pretty cheap for having unlimited streaming.
But this is unlike Spotify in that you're unable to download the songs for later streaming - you're stuck with a pure radio like Pandora - and with Spotify costing only $6 more and offering a radio feature as well, you have to make a judgement call on whether this, Pandora, or Spotify suits your situation best. Pandora also offers a free, limited mobile stream, on top of a $36 a year unlimited stream across all platforms.
It's worth noting that doubleTwist has partnered with Qualcomm for the release of MagicPlay later this year, which is set offer an open-source media-streaming platform to take on Apple's AirPlay. As we saw at CES 2013, you will be able to stream music directly from your phone to an AllJoyn-enabled speaker. That could potentially be a compelling reason to purchase Magic Radio, not to mention that there's also Apple TV and Xbox 360 streaming already present.
If you find yourself using doubleTwist as your main music player, this may just be your radio solution. If not - there may be a cheaper and more feature-filled solution out there.
The company hasn't provided any information on UK or other device availability.
What do you think of Magic Radio?
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