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Mobile IoT Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White

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Last.fm Takes On Imeem On Android

Music recommendation engine / social network Last.fm has launched an official, feature-rich application for the Android platform that enables users to stream radio stations (including personalized streaming radio), consult up-to-date concert information and also offers the ability to track users’ listening habits based on their Last.fm profile.

The company says the application should be available here, but I’m not seeing anything there yet so maybe we should just be patient until they get around to effectively have the app up for download on Android Market. (It’s also nowhere to be found when you actually search from the G1).

Update: it’s available from the phone now.

First impressions: music quality is fine but not staggering, the streaming speed is ok, the tagging process is seamless and it’s really cool to discover similar artists when you’re listening to a song from your mobile phone. Also, you get to purchase songs straight away via the Amazon MP3 store on Android.

The application enables users to access their Last.fm profile and millions of streaming tracks on Android-powered phones, and supports ‘background playback’ so you can listen to music while you access other programs. Last.fm has been offering an application for the iPhone / iPod Touch for about 6 months now with the same feature set apart from the background playback functionality.

Last.fm, which was acquired by CBS in May 2007 for $280 million, was recently forced to reduce its headcount by 20 percent but continues to report impressive growth figures.

One of their competitors, social music network Imeem, has been available on the Android platform since October 2008 (get it here), and their mobile application also took home the award for Best Mobile Application at the recent Crunchies ceremony. Now all we need is an Android application for Pandora and the race is on.

It’s also worth noting that we could find 3 unofficial Last.fm-related apps on the Android platform (Last.fm: Android Edition, Last.fm Player and Last.fm Client) although these generally received poor ratings and reviews, so there was an apparent need for a better, official one.

Co-Editor’s Update (Erck Schonfeld): I’ve been testing out the Last.fm app today. It works great, and I especially like the ability to create stations by tags or artist. But the stream just doesn’t sound as good as imeem’s, even though Last.fm is streaming at 128 kb/sec and imeem is streaming at 64 kb/sec. The reason for this is that imeem streams in AAC format, whereas Last.fm streams in MP3 format. As a result, the imeem app sounds twice as good at half the bit rate. Last.fm should consider switching to AAC as well.

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