The Pandora app for the iPhone and iPod Touch is simply brilliant because it takes the two great elements of the web browser-based experience, music discovery and no cost, and transfers them to a portable device. Pandora had previously been available on some other non-computer devices, but only if you paid a subscription fee. Now it’s rolling out a free version to select home audio streaming devices, according to CNET’s Crave blog.
The Logitech Squeezebox streaming audio device product line will be able to utilize Pandora’s database of music at no cost to the user. In order for this to happen, Pandora will begin piping in advertisements to the streams. Users who prefer no ads can continue to pay the subscription fees.
As more and more products become Internet-enabled, Pandora’s approach of personalized radio could become problematic for terrestrial radio stations. I know that I haven’t listened to the radio in months and that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon given the Pandora and Last.fm iPhone apps. If Wi-Fi ever comes to cars, things could get ugly for traditional radio.
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We’ve asked Pandora about its plans for expanding the service to other devices beyond the iPhone and Squeezebox and will update when we hear back.
Update: We asked Pandora founder Tim Westergren how many other devices would see this free, ad-supported version of Pandora. He responded with, “Lots!” He went on, “In the long run, our vision for Pandora is anytime, anywhere…which also means on anything!”
Though he wouldn’t divulge any other devices in particular (since Pandora doesn’t do pre-announcements), he did say that rolling out the service onto new devices will be a focus in the next 12 months.
Below, enjoy The Who’s “Squeeze Box”:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVmR72PvzHM&hl=en&fs=1]
VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition: Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.