We've been waiting for it for months and now it's finally here, Spotify's mobile app for Google Android and Apple iPhone users. Pay the monthly premium of £9.99 and you can take the streaming service with you and cache tracks to play when you're left bereft and without WiFi.
After signing up for a Premium Spotify account through the desktop client, I downloaded the Spotify app from the iTunes store. It's free but to use it you have to sign up for the £9.99/month charge.
Once you've entered your user name and password and have agreed to the terms and conditions, you're greeted with a list of your existing playlists. At the bottom of the screen there's a basic menu that allows you to look at them or search for new artists. Under "more" sits the settings page allowing you to define whether you want the app to automatically switch to offline mode if your WiFi or data connection fails.
The ability to make playlists and songs available even when you're not in range of a WiFi connection or decent data signal is the Spotify mobile app's killer feature. But it's not without its problems. Although it's simple to select a playlist to cache, saving the songs is quite time consuming. The Stuff summer playlist which contains 25 songs took over 15 minutes to move in to offline mode and failed to do so the first time I tried.
The app is nicely design and incredibly simple to use. In the "now playing" screen, tapping the album art will take you to a menu allowing you to repeat or shuffle tracks, access that band's catalogue in Spotify or go to the album the track you're currently listening to is from. One small annoyance is that volume control in the app is only present on the "now playing" screen.
On Google Android, Spotify will work as a background process allowing you to continue listening to music while using your phone for other tasks. iPhone and iPod Touch users aren't so lucky. This is a big issue for people who like to listen to music while checking emails on their iPhone or using other apps. It's possibly one of the major reasons that Apple allowed the Spotify app – it can't really compete with the totally built-in nature of the iPhone's iPod functions.
Adding songs to and creating new playlists is a doddle with a simple colour code showing which playlists belong to you (black), which are other people's and can't be edited (grey) and which are collaborative (green).
The Spotify app is a great addition to the iPhone/iPod Touch and an excellent app for Google Android users but it's functionality does not make it the "iTunes killer" some have wanted to label it. Check back soon for our full review of the app.