Rdio has always provided tremendous value to Canadians, as the streaming service provides better content from more artists than many of its competitors. It’s had the ability to stream — cache for offline usage — millions of tracks across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and the web.
Today, Rdio is releasing revamped apps for its iOS and Android platforms, and based on extensive usage of the beta version on both platforms, I can say that this is one of the most attractive apps on any platform I’ve used.
Navigation has changed, provided now by the increasingly popular left sidebar. The overall interface has been simplified and flattened, with a minimalist look to match its desktop revamp from a few months ago. On Android phones the sidebar smoothly fades in and out, and it’s a joy to see and use.
By default, you’ll see high-res thumbnails of each album in Heavy Rotation, but you can quickly navigate between categories by sliding your finger right from the extreme left of the screen. Rdio has added infinite scrolling, too, so you no longer have to press ‘More’ to receive further suggestions.
The app can also now be used as a remote for any other platform music is being played on. For instance, if you’re streaming Rdio on your stereo through a computer, the play controls with default to remote control mode and stop/start playback on the PC. But you can also take over listening duties on the phone itself, say if you’re leaving the house and want to continue listening on headphones.
Both apps have been retooled to be more stable, but the Android app in particular seems far less prone to crashing or succumb to the dreaded “0:00″ issue that plagued prior versions. Songs seem to play back almost instantly over LTE, and never fail to load like they previously did.
One thing I wish the new app included was selective sync: I have around 3GB of music in my collection, and having it sync every song to all my mobile devices is not only impractical but bandwidth-heavy. Nevertheless, the new Rdio app is a stunning achievement, and further entrenches the company as one of the premiere mobile app designers in the industry.
Rdio is available for mobile devices for $9.99/month.