February 2, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Evaluated version: 126.96.36.1990
Pros: Smart recommendations, large library, songs available for offline streaming
Cons: Cache streaming option may trouble playback, widget buttons too small
Rhapsody streams your favorite music to your Android phone, Google TV, and even your Sonos player. Today, the company added Android tablets to the list thanks to a new tablet view designed specifically with 7 to 10-inch screens in mind.
“We didn’t just resize Rhapsody – we re-imagined the entire experience for the tablet,” said Rhapsody CPO Brendan Benzing.
The new Rhapsody tablet mode is a prime example of the cool things developers can do with a tablet. As expected, users can stream songs and build playlists or queues, but the larger screen allows them to do it without constantly pressing the back button. It’s also much easier to browse through a library because Rhapsody greets users with a screen showcasing featured content in three sections: New Releases; Popular artists, albums, and songs; and Suggestions for artists to listen to based on the music users have already added to their library.
Rhapsody also has an action bar for the Browse, Features, My Music, Radio (stations built around an artist or genre), search, and control sections. A right panel shows the album cover art, playlist, and controls to play or skip back/forward. A homescreen widget is also included, but it could stand to larger than the 4×1 included considering there’s so much more room to utilize.
The design choices are all good, but I especially like the Featured content that Rhapsody delivers for music discovery. The homescreen has a sliding carousel for featured artists and articles built around a subject, but there’s an entire section dedicated to similar lists. Writers have hand-picked recommendations based on the popular songs in your senior year of high-school, themed mixtapes, and “Cheat Sheets” for buzzworthy artists or bands who sound like one of your favorite artists. There are occasional misses like the love-her-or-really-really-really-hate her Lana Del Ray, but the content is otherwise interesting to browse.
Rhapsody is available for download now. The app requires a $9.99 monthly subscription fee to stream music. You can also store music for offline use and cache streaming to improve playback quality. Some devices might want to disable the cache feature because it might prevent playback at all (I had to turn it off for my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 to work).
- Artist biographies and album reviews from some of the top music writers in the industry
- Unlimited access to over 14 million songs
- Customized playlists, new music recommendations
- Exclusive content: artist interviews, live performances and pre-release listening