Music is one of mobile’s most competitive sectors. Consumers enter into the fray the minute they purchase an iOS device, with iTunes serving as their initial music player. But no matter how good your collection may be, inevitably it will become stale. That’s when you’ll start seeking out a way to get exposed to new music and where the real battle for your attention begins.
OneTuner Pro hopes to become your favorite music-discovery app by streaming stations broadcast in about 75 different languages from more than 180 countries. With the added 60-plus genres of music and talk available, along with a personalized social media news feed, OneTuner Pro warrants some exploration.
Accessing the features of OneTuner Pro is quick. Unlike apps that require registration or connection to a social media account (that option will be discussed later), users scan through a few introductory messages and begin their quest to find a station.
Tapping the icon of the binoculars opens up a menu of the genres. There’s no shortage of diversity among them. Like Christian music? That’s an option, and so are the narrower subsets of contemporary Christian and gospel. Like dance music? You’ll have to be more specific, as dance and electronic each have their own categories, and even more subgenres exist for house, techno and trance.
The point is there are a lot of genres to choose from. After you pick the one you want, a second menu will open in the iPhone version or a list will appear next to the genres on the iPad. Stations within that category will be listed out, though the ordering can be a bit messy.
Notice there are two buttons above the list ⎯ these will help you shrink down the number of choices. At this point, you can search for a station by country or by language. For example, if you want a Bollywood station that’s broadcasted from Poland or is in Polish, that is an actual option that can be found by searching the genre by language or country.
Stations are sourced from both land-based broadcasters and online-only stations. There are thousands to choose from. Even if you can’t find exactly what you want by using the search box (suggestions are to look by station, city or state, though call letters and names work, too), you’ll surely find something you like just as much, if not better.
On the iPhone, you can also add your favorite radio station via the briefcase icon. Through there, you’ll instantly open an email that requests information such as the station’s name, its Web address and the category it best fits in. A trial for this write-up resulted in getting a favorite online station added to OneTuner Pro’s listings in about three days.
This method of recommendation doesn’t seem to exist for the iPad, but tapping the question mark icon will reveal an e-mail address where you can contact the developers. Coincidentally, this is the same information used to suggest a station, so station recommendations can be made that way.
Radio by Design
OneTuner Pro isn’t the sexiest of apps. Its design relies on a simple black-and-gray color scheme and doesn’t feature a ton of visuals, save for user and social media icons. This simple layout is less distracting and puts more focus on the audio. On iPhone, the icons you’ll use appear over a list of your favorite stations, though tapping My News will showcase a stream of your tweets and posts. On the other hand, the iPad version features both on the same screen with icons and station info appearing in a “T” in the middle and the top portion of the screen.
Also, when searching for a station, the iPhone will take you through multiple screens, but most of the action is condensed to one when using OneTuner Pro on iPad.
Another feature that seems basic but is rare is a mute icon, symbolized by a bullhorn. Readers might be asking, “Who cares?” The mute button doesn’t interrupt the stream, but turns the noise level to quiet. Once your interruption is dealt with, you can resume play without having to waste precious listening time buffering the stream or turning up the sound.
The News You Can Use
The most distinctive feature that differentiates OneTuner Pro from its competition is its MyNews feed. This is a customized news broadcast — it even begins with a cheesy-yet-authoritative jingle reminiscent of a 1980s local broadcast — with “stories” sourced from posts on your Facebook and Twitter timelines. Keep in mind that only one account from each of the two social media can populate the feed. However, you will get to choose in which language the messages will be read, and whether your anchor has a female or male voice.
OneTuner Pro will begin your tailored broadcast with the most recent post and then work its way backward. Newscasts heard during tests for this write-up usually lasted about 30 or so messages before cutting off. Since a computer executes the read-back, be prepared for some interesting pronunciations. Pinterest becomes “pine”-terest; L.A. Times becomes “latims”; and city abbreviations (such as PHX for Phoenix, NYC for New York City) get butchered entirely.
A read of your feed is a nice perk. It lets you do something else without having to be glued to a screen trying to keep up with your friends, family and favorite news sources. You’ll need to stay alert, though, as your friends’ screen names could easily get jumbled, possibly forcing you to return to reading posts on the your device for the sake of clarity.
When it comes to streaming audio, OneTuner Pro has a lot of work to do to chip away at the market. Listeners have gravitated toward music services that allow on-demand plays or are based on actively ranking songs, such as Spotify, Last.fm and Pandora.But music discovery is also one of the allures of streaming already-programmed stations. Like most others, scanning for a station by genre is simple. Few match OneTuner Pro’s ability to search for a station broadcast from a specific region. As an added bonus, OneTuner Pro is also capable of searching for a station by the language spoken over its airwaves.
It should be noted that there are two versions of OneTuner available. OneTuner Pro, which has been reviewed here, is a universal app that will work on both your iPhone and iPad. OneTuner is a free version that seems to have all of the same functionalities, but it is only available for use on iPhone.