As you probably know, Last.FM is an internet-radio service with a difference. It watches the tracks that you choose to listen to, and then uses your own habits to build a station just for you.
Type in a few favourite bands or artists, meanwhile, and it will create stations based on acts with a similar style. The Last.FM for Android app promises you all this goodness on the go.
The Android variant of Last.FM was the first to offer background streaming enabling you to check your email or browse the web while Vampire Weekend continued to blaze away in the background. The iPhone version has finally caught up in this respect, but the Droid flavour has other unique tricks.
For starters, it’s cleverly tied into various Android apps. For instance, Last.FM can use data from other playback apps or even link you directly to the Amazon MP3 store. More useful, perhaps, is that you can immediately check out any upcoming local gigs of bands that float your boat and then, with another tap or two, you can find the venue on Google Maps.
The app is well-presented and continues to make it easy to search for artists, find new stations and indicate a preference for individual songs. The good news is that this recommendation system works as well on the Android app as it does on the desktop version (albeit with the odd, incongruous result). As with other versions of Last.FM, the more you use it, the better it gets.
Sound quality is unexceptional and more suited to discovering music than savouring it at audiophile levels, and the playback tends to stall more often than in the normal desktop version. Even so, this is sophisticated means of unearthing new music that, on balance, works extremely well. And it’s free.
The Bottom Line
Powerful, personalised radio while on the move, albeit with a few minor flaws
Version reviewed 1.7.1
Requires Android 1.5 or newer