The siren’s crooning, the heavy bass, the melodies in the air. These are the things you can never get enough of. Whether you want to dance out to your music with everyone or just like to put on the earplugs for some personal auditory relaxation, music is within your reach especially if you own an Android phone. Not only music in fact, since you can also get the best books, podcasts and more. Here, I’ve collected a few of the best Android apps to get that aural experience your ears deserve.
1. Pandora (free, US only)
If you listen to internet radio, you definitely know about Pandora. It’s how radio should be – a personalized service that sends you only the music you like. Just train it to know which tunes you like and you’re ready to go. You can even use the widget mode to get your fix right on the homescreen. This app is free and requires no subscription fees, though you do need to reside in the US to use it. You can also check out Last.fm’s app for something similar.
2. Shazam (free)
Sometimes we get to love a song even though we never know anything about it. If all you know about that catchy Korean tune is the chorus, Shazam is what you need. Just hum or let the app listen to the song and it will dig through its library to get a match. You can buy the track, tag songs, read album reviews and artist bios and of course, belt out the song’s lyrics. It even includes a social feature that lets you share tagged songs with friends and look at what they’ve tagged as well. Download this free app and you’ll never have a problem grabbing that song you hear in the club or on the radio.
3. TuneIn Radio (free, Pro version for $0.99)
Of course, not all radio is music. There are times you want to get in the groove with your local station or catch some thought provoking talk radio. If you aren’t near your old boom box or just can’t get the stations you want inside your cubicle, get TuneIn Radio. This app has all the stations you need from sports to podcasts to local news. While most of its channels are in the US, there are a handful for those from other places. You’ll probably find something you like in its 50,000 strong roster of stations anyway. If you want the best experience, upgrade to Pro to get rid of the ads.
4. PowerAMP (free trial, full version for $HK 40.25)
If you want your entire sound system in the palm of your hand, PowerAMP has what you need. It plays a host of audio files and has its own easy to use graphical equalizer. You can opt for gapless playback, crossfades, SRS and Dolby support, and it even looks for album art for your songs. It has a 15-day full featured trial but to enjoy your music beyond that, you can buy the unlocker app to get unlimited access. If you want to hear everything in your music, this is the app to get.
5. Winamp (free)
Still one of the best audio players around (and it’s been around for a long time) is Nullsoft’s Winamp. If you’re nostalgic for the songs you used to play using this program on your Windows computer back in the day, you’ll be glad that it’s now available in Android form. It has tons of music management features like playlist importing, integrated search, a lockscreen player and expanded song info. It can also sync with your iTunes library and has access to SHOUTcast stations. Definitely a great app for those with massive music libraries.
6. doubletwist (free)
If the iPod has iTunes, then Android has doubletwist. This app bring the ease of media sync to the Google mobile OS and also plays them, just like iTunes. It not only plays audio, it does video as well, making it your one stop media app. What’s more is that when it syncs from iTunes, it syncs everything: playlists, play counts, ratings and more. And for a truly untethered experience, grab doubletwist AirSync ($4.99) to be able to sync over WiFi and stream media to your consoles like the XBox and PS3.
7. My Piano (free)
Ever wanted to bang out a tune on a piano but found yourself in the subway (where I assume there is no piano in sight)? I know you have, you’re an artiste after all. If you want to be able to compose a few melodies while on the run, My Piano has you covered. It boasts studio-quality sounds and works pretty much like your regular electric keyboard. Record your compositions for later, adjust the MIDI settings or add some samples in there; you can play to your heart’s content. Feel the need to pluck some strings or tap some skins? The app’s dev also has a host of other Android instruments you can install, all free. Who knows, if you practice enough you might even get into Android Got Talent.
8. Amazon MP3 (free, upgrades available)
If you’ve bought a lot of music through Amazon and use its Cloud Drive service (US only), this app lets you play your songs directly from your drive in the sky. It also lets you play tracks saved on your device and lets you buy and download them from Amazon directly. For US users, you get free 5GB of space for your music in the cloud though you can push that up to 20GB when you buy an album. If that isn’t enough, you can buy storage in your Cloud Drive for roughly $1 per gigabyte per year. Music bought from Amazon doesn’t count against the quota as well. If you want your entire music collection available anywhere without punishing your SD card, this is an app you should consider getting.
9. Listen from Google (free)
If you want some talk that’s more attuned to your interests, the Listen app from Google gets you into that podcast habit. This app lets you discover, search and subscribe to thousands of podcasts all over the web. You can get anything from local area news to online handicraft lessons. If you want to be both informed and entertained, this is one of the apps that will keep you in the loop.
10. Audible for Android (free, account required)
Audible is the leading source of audiobooks and now you can get your favorite novels and hardbounds read to you on your Android device. The app itself comes with 7 excerpts to get you started, though for the best experience, you really need to purchase the full books from Audible. The app syncs with your Audible account and you can choose from thousands of audiobooks available in store. It even gives out badges and shows stats about your reading so you both enjoy and get little rewards at the same time. If you haven’t tried listening to your books being read, have a listen and I guarantee that you will love the experience.