App Review: AccuRadio

I happen to really like the iPhone in Canada blog, so when they say that there's a "must-have" app, I'll take that recommendation seriously and check it out.

Monday morning, they highly recommended the AccuRadio app, noting: "This gem is free, requires no sign up, has tonnes of genres, and offer unlimited skips, plays in background on iOS 4, and can be streamed to your car via Bluetooth. Win."

I can't vouch for the Bluetooth, but the rest of it is entirely accurate based on my testing of it. I installed it, quickly found the Christian music genre, and set it into motion. (There's about a gazillion genres on here, everything from Beatles to something called "Sir Telty's Tunes" and a genre known as "Vintage Violence".)

As advertised, it plays in the background, it runs over the Telus network, so you can stream without wireless, which is a plus, provided you have a big data plan. You can skip over the current song to the next one if the app pulls up a song you don't particularly like - and, if you really don't like an artist, you can "ban" them from your stream. The app allows you to save your favorite channels for easy access, and you can even set the app to lower the sound quality if you find the high quality stream breaking up (or, I suppose, just want to reduce the data usage).

I streamed the Christian New Releases channel on the way home from work today and it played perfectly with no skips and great sound.

But while this is, in fact, the best functional iPhone radio app I've used, it totally falls apart on the key element of content. Yes, it has lots of channels. But, those "Christian New Releases"? Song after song from 2008, with the occasional song thrown in from 2009. It's almost 2011. "Here I Am" by Downhere is a great song, but it is most definitely NOT a new release. And the other channels are worse - the Christian Hits channel is a lot of songs from the early 2000s and the 1990s. And for every song by a "name" artist, there's a half-dozen from groups or singers I've never heard of.

So, while I really, really want to love this app, I don't think it's going to get a lot of use.

If only NRT Radio would stream over 3G ...

In slightly related news, my car is going into the shop tomorrow to get an iPhone auxiliary cable installed into my car stereo so that I can ditch my FM transmitter and jack my iPhone directly into my stereo. Better quality sound is on its way!
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