The best free internet radio apps for mobile phones
What do you do when you get tired of the music you’ve got stored on your phone? Get the trusty old FM radio out, but if you want a really good choice of stations there are some mighty fine radio streaming apps out there.
While all these apps give you a great choice of music to listen to, they all use data streaming so could take a big bite out of your allowance or mean you end up running up a big bill. We would suggest that you only use these apps when connected to a wi-fi network, so you won’t be hit with bill shock.
Available for: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Palm, Windows Phone 7
Price: Free (£0.59 on iOS)
Reviewed on: Samsung Omnia 7
With over 40,000 stations to choose from and working on almost every operating system apart from Symbian, TuneIn is the big boy of internet radio apps.
We found it easy to use on both Android and Windows Phone 7 – although the addition of sub-categories in Local section for the WP7 version made it easier to find the station you were after.
The menus are clear and and similar to the operating system you are running so swapping between the phone’s menu and the app feels seamless and makes the app is intuitive to use.
One of the most impressive things we found when we reviewed TuneIn was the selection of local radio stations that you could listen to, regardless of where you are in the world. Meaning you can get a taste of home life wherever you are.
As well as having a wide range of local stations there’s also a huge choice of music stations from Alt. rock and Latin to Religious and Soul/Blues.
Available on: Symbian
Reviewed on: Nokia N8
Once I had managed to get it installed and running – not always the easiest thing to do on Nokia’s Ovi Store – Nokia Internet Radio worked well and had an outstanding range of stations – including 4195 pop radio stations, 2126 Dance stations and 1152 Christian/Gospel stations.
There’s no fancy interface – with just a simple black and white list of stations with the occasional logo thrown in – but it is simple and easy to use, although the sheer size of the choice of stations might make finding your ideal station a challenge.
There’s nothing fancy here but it’s an efficient app that gets the job done.
Available on: Windows Phone 7, Android, iOS
Price: Free (but requires a subscription)
Reviewed on: Samsung Omnia 7
Not strictly a radio streaming service – or strictly free – Last FM allows you to pick artists you like and listen to music that is marked as similar to your choice.
You will need a subscription – although you can get a free 30 day trial of the service – and it will give you access to a huge library of songs. The app will also build up a memory of the type of music you like and become better at recommending appropriate songs for you.
The app was nicely designed and it was easy to find the music we looked for.
Available on: Android and iOS
Reviewed on: Google Nexus S
In a similar vein to Last.fm, DoubanFM doesn’t stream live radio shows, instead you choose a channel such as Rock or Folk and it randomly plays a song in this genre.
You can then choose if you like the song or not and the app remembers your choice and tries to build up a map of your musical taste and choose the best songs for you.
The app looks good with a clean no-nonsense design which makes it easy to use. Album art is displayed along with song name and we were very impressed with this free service.
If you’re looking for a smartphone to run apps on check out our guide to the best smartphones.
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