Along with its headline price of free, the Radio app for phones running Google’s mobile OS supports offline playback. This means that personalised radio stations based on a user’s musical tastes or those curated by editors can be cached in advance so that they’ll continue to play outside of a 3G or WiFi connection, a commonly employed trick by mobile music ‘streaming’ services that not only provides uninterrupted playback but also potentially saves on data usage and associated costs, along with battery life. Although for a personalised Internet radio service, We7 is claiming a European first.
The move also sees the service continue to gravitate away from an on-demand offering akin to the likes of Spotify to a more Pandora-esque lean-back experience that borrows from traditional radio but mixes in the ability to create personal stations based on an artist, mood or musical genre. This is said to be the way more mainstream users want to consume music, which is convenient given the cheaper rates charged by the music industry for a service deemed to be Internet radio, while We7 believes that offline playback removes a substantial obstacle for this type of consumption to move to mobile.
However, for users that still prefer We7’s more comprehensive on-demand and ad-free service, the new Android app does provide the ability to upgrade to a Premium Plus subscription costing £9.99 per-month.
The We7 Radio App should be available as of today from the Android Marketplace and will be followed in April with versions for iOS. BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 versions will be launched later this year.