New Spotify Mobile App Review

New Spotify Mobile App Review

May 21, 2012

I’m going to start this app review by saying how much I love Spotify. I made the unfortunate mistake of getting Spotify Premium and now I am hopelessly addicted. For those who are not aware of what Spotify is, it is a service that allows the user to browse and listen to nearly every music track in existence. It is like owning the entire iTunes Store, but for free. Naturally there is a paid version that offers advanced features such as higher streaming rates, offline playback, mobile access, and ad-free listening. For subscribers of Premium, such as myself, one of the biggest advantages was being able to stream songs through Spotify onto any mobile device. Unfortunately, until now the Spotify app had been one of the most frustrating experiences on a smartphone since Facebook updated their Android app.

Now available on the Spotify website for download is a completely new app that bears no resemblance to the old clunker, and has been completely rebuilt from scratch. Because this is still in testing phase, it is not out on the Play Store but rather available for download as an .apk file to be manually installed. For any Spotify Premium user, I would definitely recommend giving it a shot, even for those who have never manually installed an application before.

The app has too many changes to name, and every one of them is for the better. It is more stable than its predecessor as well as markedly faster. The styling has changed from a dreary dark gray and green to a white and lime combo that takes definite nods towards Google’s restyling of all their web services. The giant gray buttons are now replaced by simple, flat squares and rectangles, and the obtrusive ‘Now Playing’ tab is gone. The menu is accessed in the exact same way as in Facebook’s new app, and the two look so similar that I cannot tell specifically if there are any differences. Searching for a song is finally logical and the feeling of needing to outsmart the app just to find a song is mercifully gone. While the whole app revolves around the ‘Playlist’ feature, ‘What’s New’ makes an appearance and artist and album pages have been redesigned with giant cover photos adorning the header.

With the reincarnation of their Android app, Spotify has more than likely brought themselves Premium subscribers in droves. The argument to stay at Spotify Free and not upgrade to Premium just got a little bit harder to make.

Alarm Clock by doubleTwist App Review

Alarm Clock by doubleTwist App Review

Apr 6, 2012

Being a college student, getting a good nights sleep is very important yet very rarely accomplished. Due to all the late nights toiling away at one’s studies, having good alarm is essential, and a little flair wouldn’t hurt. Enter: doubleTwist. Now I’ve reviewed apps by doubleTwist before, notably their flagship music player, but an alarm clock app took me by surprise. After looking through the app for a while, however, it started to make sense. One of doubleTwist’s strongest assists is its striking and elegant visual style and their music management system. This beautiful app bears doubleTwist’s signature dark styling, and when selecting a playlist or song to use as an alarm the doubleTwist Player has to be installed. Some may question the decision to make such a large aspect of the app proprietary, but this move represents a bold step foreword for doubleTwist. By establishing a suite of apps that all feed off of the same ecosystem, they are attempting to form what Apple and Sony have been doing with home entertainment for decades.

The app itself is, as previously stated, gorgeous. The landscape analog and digital clocks are sublimely detailed, especially the analog one which includes an array of gears behind the elegantly ornate centerpiece. For phones with a kickstand like my EVO 4G this app would work beautifully as a bedside clock because of the included night modes of each clock which dim the screen brightness and change the colors from whites and oranges to calming blues and blacks. The one problem with this is that there is no in-app option to turn off the screen timeout so this must be done remotely. I did not find this to be much of a problem seeing as it is an option on a switch widget on my home screen, but an included option would have been nice.

As an alarm clock this app works just as well if not better then the stock Android clock application. Built in is a sleep cycle calculator which for those who don’t know, suggests time to either fall asleep or wake up based on the fact that the best time to wake up is between sleep cycles. Websites like do this but having this feature baked into an app is a giant plus because it does work and I utilize it almost every night.

With great integration with their Player and standout visual appeal, DoubleTwist has put together an amazing free app that is worth downloading even for those not privy to the doubleTwist ecosystem.