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Winamp sneak peek: Android app to bring UI updates, voice and genre search

Nullsoft, now with over 250,000 Winamp for Android downloads under its belt, is gearing up for a new release in March, and we've been lucky enough to get our hands on an early alpha build. You may want to leap straight into the gallery to look at the updated UI -- but if not, read on! [Disclaimer: Nullsoft and Download Squad are both owned by AOL.]

The most obvious change is a completely-overhauled UI. The home screen features bigger buttons, and the Search button has been replaced with Genre -- yes, you can now search and browse by genre -- and everything looks slightly darker, slicker and cooler.

The Now Playing screen has been updated to match the home screen's aesthetic. The UI is tighter, tidier, but a little bit 'Web 2.0' if we're brutally honest. Now Playing also features left- and right-swipe gestures to go back and forward through an album or playlist. Hopefully we'll see even more gestures added in later versions, like double tapping to pause and swiping up to return to your playlist.

Winamp for Android, sneek peek at version 0.9.3

Still in the Now Playing screen, the Search and Artist Info buttons have had their interfaces made a lot prettier. You now get some pretty white-and-black speech bubbles that link through to AOL Music, Google, YouTube, and so on. The lock screen is now a lot prettier (and easier to use), too.

The next big addition: Winamp for Android now integrates with Google's Voice Search. In theory, if you say "listen to Bruce Springsteen" Winamp will automatically start playing some Bruce Springsteen -- but in practice, you can only search for music at the moment, and not without first selecting Winamp from a drop-down. If you're voice searching, you probably don't have a free finger for that kind of manipulation; presumably it will all be fixed up for the actual release in March, though.

International users, you'll be glad to hear that there's more localization in the upcoming release! French, German, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese-Brazilian, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish are now all supported.

Finally, we're also told that this release will feature "free music downloads," but we're not sure exactly what this will entail. Spinner offers one free download a day, and there's AOL Music's Sessions, so it's probably tied into both of those. We'll update this post when we receive more information, though.

[For the true die-hards, here's the latest Winamp promotional video. I can't say it does it for me, but maybe it does it for you...]

Tags: hands-on, llama, music, music player, MusicPlayer, nullsoft, winamp, winamp for android, WinampForAndroid