Hands on with the Spotify for Android update preview

For me, Spotify is how I listen to probably 75% of any music at the moment. While the service -- and for that matter price -- is superb, the Android application has definitely been lacking. There have been rumblings for a while about an update, and then just like that it dropped. The preview of the newest version is only available as a direct download from Spotify at present, and isn't the finished article. What is there though is pretty special, and a significant upgrade from the previous offering. We've had a couple of days to play around with it now, so if you haven't tried it out yet, stick around. A full hands on plus some tasty screenshots await you after the break. 

The most significant change is the UI. There isn't a single trace left of its predecessor. Design cues have been drawn from Ice Cream Sandwich, and that is in no way a bad thing. Once you sign in, you're still greeted with your playlists as before. But it looks so different, ordered in a distinctly ICS style list. At the top of the page, any playlists downloaded to your device are now highlighted in their own section. Good news for those with a lot of playlists for sure. 

The top left corner is where you'll find the menu button now, again taking its cues from ICS. All the same sub-menus are there, but it slides out from the left of the screen instead of popping up from the bottom. Along the bottom of the screen, is a quick-play bar, showing your currently playing track along with a play/pause button. 

Diving into the menus then, with settings first. The settings menu gives us a tasty little treat in this new version. A little dropdown box which determines the quality of the music when streaming -- and a new "extreme quality." That's right, 320Kbps quality streaming audio. The same feature has been open to our iOS cousins for a couple of months now, and finally it's our turn. 

Another section lying within the main dropdown menu is the "What's New" section. On the old app this was a pretty dull affair, but the new version looks a lot closer to the cover flow-esque desktop version. Nice big images of album artwork -- a shame one of them in this image is Bieber, sorry for that folks -- and lists of top playlists and top tracks. 

Each track, be it in a playlist or in the actual player, has a little tab next to the track name. This opens up a very nice quick menu bar. The links contained within differ slightly depending on where abouts in the app you are. Put simply, it provises links to the artists, album, adding to a playlist, queue, starring the track, and your sharing link. Some are covered within the "more" tab. 

Finally, what about the actual music player? Functionally it's the same basic player as in the old version of the app. The difference is in the appearance, and all the better it is for it too. Finally, Spotify have graced us with a good looking, easy to use Android application. So far -- for me at least -- this version hasn't crashed in two days of pretty constant use. The same couldn't be said for the previous version. 

There you have it. If this has whetted your appetite, hit the source link below where you can find the download link for yourselves. 

Source: Spotify

  • The Ron Burgundy Afternoon Delight screen more than makes up for your Bieber screenshot. Loving the new Spotify. I had left Spotify a few months ago and switched to Rdio, but this update brought me back. Haven't had one crash on my GNex, after not being able to get through one full song on the old version.
  • Maybe I need to re-download the app but there are some things I don't like, and I'm not just talking about the lack of the widget. the songs in the playlist no longer show what album they are from. I have quite a few playlists where I just have all the albums from one band and unless I have all the song titles memorized I don't know where one album ends and another begins. Also, maybe I just don't know where to find it but I'm not seeing a way to add a whole album to a current playlist I have like I used to. You just seem to be able to add single songs. Other than those few things this update is excellent.
  • Does not rotate to landscape on my tablet. I don't care how nice the new interface is, and I know this is only a preview, but they better fix this.
  • I uninstalled and went back to the market app for that reason. Can't use when installed in car dock. Well, I CAN use it, but my car dock is mounted landscape.
  • Also tested this on my Rezound and it also doesn't rotate on there. I also agree with the poster above about the album not being listed for songs.
  • I'm a huge Spotify user and so far I am loving the changes. still don't know if the random app crashes exist or not but like Richard said he hasnt had a crash in two days so im keeping my fingers crossed here. The UI is way better than the iphone/ipod version which I use to be jealous of. Great review and thank you for bring this to our attention Richard!
  • I still prefer Rdio's interface, even though the app is hecka buggy.
  • I definitely appreciate the interface updates and the bug fixes however they didn't really add a lot of features. I'll take it but I hope they update more often than they have been.
  • Not sure if it matters, but there's no "exit" option
  • Just noticed that in album view you can swipe left & right for the next or previous song
  • Is it worth the premium or free is good enough? Thanks.
  • The menu can also be accessed by dragging the screen from left to right, similar to accessing bookmarks in Dolphin Browser. I find this much easier to do than pressing the menu button in the top left corner. I'm happy to finally see the player controls when the screen is locked. That was a much needed update.