It’s the 21st Century and almost all terrestrial radio stations stream their content over the Internet. It’s just common sense these days. Of course, while this allows one to tune into stations from around the world, it does not bring them the ubiquity of access that broadcast has. Drive time is a particularly apt example of this as anyone trapped on Washington, D.C.’s Beltway can attest.
Enter the smartphone. Mobile technology is allowing access to Internet-based radio to blossom at an amazing rate, and the iPhone as the most popular handset is a significant part of this. A consistently growing array of apps is providing better and better access to Internet radio on an almost daily basis.
Case in point: Spark Radio [$5.99 in the iTunes Store].
Spark is an Internet Radio app that is slated to include 30,000 stations by this coming April, and it has a third of that already. Organized by genre and category, it makes it easy to find the type of programming you want. But that’s not all, as David Piece at Mobile Beat reports:
Spark Radio also has a great GPS feature. It can figure out where you are and then display the stations near you. The advantage here is that the quality tends to be higher than the radio signals, and there’s no hunting through static to find the real stations. You can also check to see recent songs or programming on a given station, to see if it’s a good station for you.
Frequent radio listeners will like the ability to save stations as their favorites. There’s also a fully-baked Web browser right within the app, somewhat solving the multitasking problem so many iPhone users have – if you need to look something up, but still want to listen to the radio, you can do it right from within Spark Radio.
That last quality is something essential. Due to the architecture of the iPhone, you cannot run an app and browse the web simultaneously. A workaround of this nature is important because it prevents fragmenting of the experience. Listening is nowhere near as appealing if you have to tune out in order to multitask.
The beauty of this is for those on the move. If you are travelling, you can either use the iPhone’s 3G to stay connected to your favorite stations and programming back home or use the GPS to find appealing local stations as you travel. Either way, it’s a huge win.
Image: Spark App Store Entry / Fair Use: Reporting