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Pocket Tunes plays sweet music

Mel Martin

What! Another internet radio player for the iPhone? Yes, Pocket Tunes [App store link] does play internet radio in a pretty crowded field of similar iPhone/touch apps, but this little player has some unique attributes.

Pocket Tunes, which is also available for Windows Mobile and Palm phones, has excellent audio quality, and a nice, but not overwhelmingly large, selection of stations. You can add your own stations of course, and Pocket Tunes plays more audio formats than most of the other players out there, including aacPlus v1, aacPlus v2, Shoutcast, RTSP, and the usual suspects like MP3, AAC and WMA.

There are a few things that set Pocket Tunes apart from the competition. The GUI is pretty, not just a jumble of text, and the app contains a web browser so you can surf while listening to streaming music, something you simply can't do with other radio streamers. The browser can't see your Safari bookmarks, and you can't make your own, but listening to music and surfing the web is certainly better than listening to music and not surfing. The browser does have a link for the Google search engine, so getting to a website is not too painful.

You can also connect to the iTunes Store to buy any music you've listened to, and Pocket Tunes remembers stations that you have heard and caches them without your having to save them.

The audio quality of this app is quite good, and I got reasonably fast load and buffering times even using the EDGE network. I even tried to listen to music while driving, but when I plug in my car iPod adapter cord to the iPhone, I just get my regular playlists. I could have used the headphone out on the phone into the mini plug input on the car, but I didn't have the proper cable. Note to self: always bring the proper cables.

Pocket Tunes is $9.99, and competes against some fine free apps like AOL Radio and Flycast, and some apps that aren't free like Tuner [App Store link] and Wunder Radio [App Store link] which are both loaded with features for $5.99. Still, Pocket Tunes works very well, and unlike all the other entrants (except Flycast), it will let you read this review while listening to your favorite stations.

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