Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nokia Internet Radio

These days we don't think twice about streaming content from the Internet. With the S60 operating system, you have a diverse selection of media streaming choices such as your local TV through SlingPlayer, YouTube through MobiTubia, or Last.fm through Mobbler to meet most people's needed. But just a few years ago, none of this was common place on cell phones. Find out if Internet Radio on your S60 is worth trying after the jump.

One of Nokia's early projects to jump start mobile streaming on S60 back in 2006 was Internet Radio. It's a simple media player that supports the very popular SHOUTcast streaming audio playback in MP3 or AAC+ streams. These days most S60 phones come with Internet Radio. I must admit, I never opened it because I doubted Nokia's support for the product and the music selection available.

But since I'm writing this review I have to give a try just to see what it's all about.

Start screen

Very straightforward. You choose if you want to continue listening to what you were listening the last time of you can browse another. You can save your stations under favorites for quick access. Or if you want something fresh you can browse through the station directory.

Station Directory

Here you can browse through the directory of stations in several ways. It's not implemented as a filter system because I wanted to browse for Dance in English but I ended up going through so much French Dance stations that I gave up.

By Genre

There's a good selection of some of the popular choices. I found that Indian music was the most popular and offered the best selection of stations.

Music Player Interface

It's simple and does its thing. Pushing down on the D-pad will bring up the radio station details. No equalizer, unfortunately. I don't have a S60 phone with media keys like the N95/N96 so I'm not sure if they work in Internet Radio. If you do have a N95/N96, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Radio Station Details

Here you get all the information that the radio station is categorized. Unfortunately categorization needs some work as my radio station that's playing a Michael Bolton song seems to fall under Korean Pop.

Although there are a number of applications that are either better or have a better selection of content, it's hard not to recognize Nokia's effort in creating something that showcases practical usage of S60 functionality such as codecs. Some of these ideas are of course utilized in other projects such as MobiTubia. But I think the cost of data and availabilty of WiFi on S60 phones have helped drive streaming media to mobiles more so than Internet Radio.

Internet Radio comes with most S60 phones so it's worth a little time to browse through and see if you find anything you life. Unfortunately there are a lot of music tastes that are under served such as Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. It's also unfortunate that Nokia controls the radio station directory so you can't add your own to Internet Radio and you can't suggest one to Nokia. It's very limited but neat.

Software Rating: Worth a try


John said...

the Nokia Internet Radio works a treat! it was just what i was looking for to play .pls files from di.fm, and the best thing about it, is its free!I've tried the internet radio streaming with the nokia n95, and it works fine.
Try http://bbcradio.mobi
It has a whole list of all bbc radio channels, including bbc sports, and bbc news. All the bbc radio channels can be easily streamed over any internet connection, through pc or mobile/pda.
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