Today RIM announced the Slacker application available for BlackBerry. It was demoed at CTIA and I got a chance to play around with it a little bit.
The relationship brings Slacker Personal Radio to BlackBerry devices. The biggest benefit is the ability to cache thousands of songs. Every time you hit a hotspot the device will sync and update the station. Plenty of music is available from Fergie to Bad Company. If you don’t like something, you can ban the song or artist. Conversely, if you do like something you hear, you can rate the artist or get more info. I didn’t see a “buy now” link, but I’ll bet donuts to dollars somebody is working on that.
For now, there doesn’t seem to be a way to access playlists beyond what’s next and what was recently heard. While this might make sense for streaming radio stations, it should probably be an integrated feature if a station is living in the cache.
Overall, the service worked fine when not trying to do too much. Music was played, music was listened too. Switching between stations seemed to me a little slow, but the ability to edit playlists within a station means you might not be flipping around the dial so much. Control was pretty easy and intuitive, with basic menu commands available in a pop up menu.
The app looked best to me on the new Pearl Flip 8220, due to its vertical screen. The differences between the Bold and Curve were minimal. That’s the Bold up there on top. The Curve is below, and the new Pearl Flip below that.