*Why I wanted this app?*
Ever since I got my new Blackberry 3G I always thought it was missing something special and that something is a radio and this is where TuneIn Radio Blackberry Application comes in.
*Tell me about TuneIn Radio*
TuneIn Radio is a free download from, http://appworld.blackberry.com or you can download it from your Blackberry handset.
This application required WiFi or cellular data connection. The version available now is 1.9.0, which was released 18 March 2011 and has a file size of 291KB.
TuneIn Radio works by picking up AM/FM radio stations locally or across the country within seconds, which amounts to 40,000 stations. This application lets you search for a station via its name, location or you can search for what music you feel like listening to at that time, whether you are after classical, disco or hip hop you will find something for you. Or if you want to listen to programmes or podcasts this is also available.
*Starting TuneIn Radio*
You can use TuneIn Radio two ways; one is to stream via data streaming but usually your data charges usually apply. This depends on the radio station being used but most stations stream at 32kbps and others range from 128kbps.
Or you can use a Wi-Fi connection, which runs through your local internet connection.
Once TuneIn Radio has been downloaded and you have re-booted your Blackberry you will find the app stored in your download folder or on your main screen. TuneIn Radio icon is very simple, which is a little radio with a smile underneath it.
Upon loading you will be asked if you want to stream via your Wi-Fi connection or via cellular data charges. However, which ever one you choose you can always change your preference in Show Settings and then Connection. This can be applied to WiFi Only, Automatic or Cellular Only.
Start up is very quick and takes a few seconds. You are then directed to the main page where you can search for radio stations via name, genre or location.
*What stations are available?*
On the scroll down screen you can search for, Local Radio, Music, Talk, Sports, By Location, By Language and Podcasts. All of which go into another subcategory.
The background screen is plain white and easy on the eye with a blue bar that highlights the station you are browsing.
Going into Local Radio you are greeted with city names and you choose the one that is closest to you, so for me I choose Sheffield as my nearest city. Within seconds I am greeted with all the stations in Sheffield in alphabetical order. Clicking into Capital South and West Yorkshire 105.1 I am took directly to the radio station, where the screen changes to black, at the top of the screen you can see how much battery power you have left, the time, the internet connection you are using and single strength.
The middle of the screen sees the radio stations logo, text to the right hand side of the radio station and most of the time you will see the name of the song currently being played. The bottom of the screen sees a button to the left hand side where you can stop or play the station.
Going into the Music subcategory you are met with all the different music you could want to listen to, including: Classic Rock, Classical, Country, Hip-Hop, Jazz/New Age, Latin, Oldies, R&B, Soul, Specialty, Top 40/Pop and more.
Going into the category Speciality I was unsure what music this would entail but I was surprised to find a station called GotRadio Mash-Ups. I have found this station to be one of my favourites due to the popular music and their love for mixing tracks into one another and making a new great sound that is unique to any other radio station. Currently playing is Christina Aguilera vs The Strokes, White Strips vs Prodigy to Usher vs Smokey and the Bandit to name a few.
Talk category is just what it says on the tin. You can go into categories such as Business, Entertainment, News, Sports Talk, Technology and more. Going into the News category I am greeted with local stations that I can choose from. Going into BBC Sheffield station I am listening to an argument with a caller and the radio presenter talking about getting children into local schools and how difficult it is.
Sports category is no shadow of doubt is for the sport lovers out there. You have to sub-categories to choose from and these include Sports Talk and More Sports and Teams. Sports Talk is like above and More Sports and Teams gives you radio stations, shows, explore sports such as basketball, football, golf, horse racing and every other sport you can think of, you can search for sport in location such as Asia, Central America, Europe, North America and South America.
By Location category is the same as above where you can search for any radio station in any country.
By Language category covers languages from Arabic, Bulgarian all the way to Ukrainian and Welsh.
Podcasts covers RatioTime Music from Adult Contemp to World. RadioTime Talk covers Business to Technology and RadioTime Sports covers from Sports Talk to NHL.
What else has TuneIn Radio got to offer?
Even though you have a world of radio stations and music at your finger tips there is also some nice options in settings.
You have the option to Customise User Interface. This allows you to show the battery, time and signal at the top of the screen or if you un-tick it this wont be displayed.
You can stop playback (stream) if your battery level runs below 10%.
Play the last tuned station when the application starts.
While browsing in the background you have the option whether to be able to use the Mute key as a play and stop button. Be able to use volume keys and show you the volume level when adjusting.
You can check for updates or if you don't do this like me Blackberry Application tells you when a update is available.
There is an option for an Alarm. If you are travelling and don't have access to a radio alarm you can set TuneIn Radio as one, you can enable it, choose what time to come on and the volume needed to wake you up. You can also set your favourite radio station to wake up to.
You can set Connection APN (Access Point Name), which is an advanced option. You tick this before you use non-BIS data services and separate data charges may apply.
Use GPS signal to detect local stations.
You can choose how long to buff for before playing and this ranges from automatic, 5 seconds to 60 seconds. Mine is set at 15 seconds.
*How is the signal, is the sound clear?*
Once TuneIn Radio has locked onto my internet connection I can have constant signal that doesn't crash on me. However if I move out of range and this can be the next room it sometimes goes a little funny on me and loses connection. Other times it works just fine so it all depends.
The sound is amazing, very crisp and clear. I currently have the volume on 70% and this is loud enough for me, however lower levels such as 30% is a great volume if you want to listen to music and someone else is in the room watching TV.
Turning the volume up to 100% I am pleased to say sound isn't compromised but is rather loud, especially on the Mash-Up station I am on.
*How fast does it drain your battery?*
I would say like any application that uses data constantly the longevity of your battery will be compromised. But I have found my Blackberry 3G to hold its battery quite well and with listening to the radio for hours my battery may be down to half way. If you are browsing the internet, emailing, messaging on BBM, emailing etc your battery may run quicker than just using one application a time.
*Can all Blackberry's download TuneIn Radio?*
As long as you have the ability to download application and are registered with Blackberry App World you shouldn't have a problem.
*Is there anyway I can listen to the stations before I download?*
There is and I think it is a fantastic idea. If you go to the website radiotime.com/mobile/blackberry, go to the menu at the top that says Browse, you will be able to choose the same as you would on the app. I choose my favourite station in Speciality, which is GotRadio Mash-Ups and was surprised to hear what I was listening to on the internet and on my Blackberry was different then after a minute or two I realised my Blackberry is a little behind in the streaming and you will hear the song in real time on the internet but this doesn't make a difference in anyway.
*Is there any downsides?*
Of course and a big one in my eyes, as a person who doesn't want to pay for data to be streamed as in the long term this can work out expensive. I can't listen to the radio while I am out and about unless where I am I can connect to their Wi-Fi signal.
*What do I think of it and would I recommend it?*
Without a shadow of a doubt yes I would recommend and TuneIn Radio is something I wouldn't and can't be without. A brilliant application and for free.