Winamp 1.0 for Android review: now with free MP3 downloads and streaming
With the bump to version 1, Winamp for Android introduces a bunch of cool new features. Most notably is the ability to download and stream MP3s from Spinner, but there's also a new Featured SHOUTcast Stations area and extensive UI changes throughout.
The lock screen player has been redesigned, and you can now control audio playback with swipe gestures. Accessing vast amounts of artist information and news directly from the Now Playing screen is now really easy -- and finally, Wi-Fi sync of music from your desktop PC is now a lot more stable!
Read on for our hands-on experiences with each of Winamp 1.0's main features.
Free music downloadsSpinner, which provides free 'MP3 of the day' downloads, is now integrated with Winamp for Android. Simply hit the Free Music button from the Winamp home screen and you'll be transported to a long and pretty list of free MP3s. You can stream them instantly, or download to your SD card. The downloaded MP3s completely free of DRM, too!
For some reason you can't queue these free songs up, though -- not unless you download them all first, anyway.
A beautiful UIThe Winamp for Android UI has been updated at least three times during the development process, and it's now at the stage where it embodies and extols both beauty and function.
The player is easily accessed from anywhere in the app -- just tap the bar at the bottom of the screen -- and being able to search the Internet for artist info, photos, news and discography straight from the player is awesome. You can also set the currently-playing song as your ringtone, or add it to a playlist with your phone's menu/context button.
Gestures allow you to swipe left and right on the Now Playing screen to move back and forth through an album or playlist. Hopefully further gesture controls (and customization!) will appear in later versions of Winamp for Android -- it sure would be nice to have a way of pausing a song without having to push the little button at the bottom (is there a 'mash fist on screen' gesture?), or to skip multiple songs.
As far as accessing Winamp from outside the app, there's a nice lock screen player which you can enable from the settings, and there's two widgets (with and without album art) that you can add to your Android home screen.
SHOUTcast streaming radioOne of Winamp's coolest features is its ability to stream from any SHOUTcast radio station. You can search by genre, or see Nullsoft's selection of Featured Stations. You can save any station to your favorites, making it very quick and easy to stream them in the future.
If you're worried about hitting your bandwidth cap, you can sort by bitrate and choose a 24 or 40kbps stream.
Wi-Fi desktop syncIf you use Winamp on the desktop, the Android app can automatically sync your music library to your mobile device. It requires a little bit of setting up, but it definitely beats having to plug in the USB cable.
To set up Wi-Fi desktop sync, follow the tutorial that first pops up when you open Winamp for Android -- or push the menu/context button > Settings > Winamp Help. You will need an up-to-date version of Winamp on your PC, too.
Internationally fluentFinally, it's worth noting that Winamp for Android has been translated into a whole bunch of languages. French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese-Brazilian, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish are all supported. Chinese is now the only major ommission.
Learn more about Winamp for Android on the Nullsoft site
Download Winamp 1.0 from the Android Market