As good as Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system is, it’s still missing a key ingredient to attract more users: the top-tier apps people want to use.
It got a bit better today with the launch of Pandora on Windows Phone. Microsoft promised us the app last October, and five months later, Pandora has finally delivered.
The Pandora Windows Phone app is pretty straightforward and functions largely like the version on iPhone and Android. You can search by artist, song title, album title, or genre, and Pandora will create a streaming radio station with similar songs. Simple.
But the Windows Phone version does have a few extras you won’t find on iPhone or Android. You can “pin” your saved radio stations to your home screen so you just have to tap it to start playing. The app’s home screen live tile also automatically displays the the song you’re listening to. Finally, Pandora taps into Windows Phone 8’s “Kids Corner” feature so you can filter out music with explicit content.
One more big bonus: Windows Phone users get ad-free Pandora streaming through the end of 2013.
The Pandora launch is a step in the right direction for the Windows Phone platform. It’s tough to convince top developers to make apps for a platform with such a tiny market share compared to iOS and Android. And it’s tough to convince consumers to pick Windows Phone over iOS or Android when Microsoft can’t boast it has the best apps people want.
Windows Phone’s app selection still has a long way to go, so it would be nice if today’s news convinced other big developers to take the OS seriously too.
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