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TuneIn Radio Has Lost Its Focus

All apps get updated at some point, and sometimes the updates don’t seem to make any sense. As a programmer I’m willing to support fellow programmers to a certain extent when it comes to redesigning the look and feel of a popular app, but sometimes programmers get completely derailed by the idea that they can make their apps better by following a certain design pattern, or by copying what some other hugely successful app has done. Sadly they do this while completely forgetting what the core function of their app actually is.

A huge example of this occurred last year when Google introduced version 7 of Maps for Android. Their stated goal was to make it simpler to use the app, and in some respects they achieved this, but at the expense of functionality. They removed features that many maps users had relied on, all in the name of simplicity and STYLE. Google is now bringing out version 8 of maps that will hopefully address some of these issues.

However, this article is not about Google Maps, but instead about another mainstay of the Android ecosystem, namely TuneIn Radio. I’ve mentioned this app in a previous article, and while it isn’t the only one you can use to stream live radio stations over your Android phone, it is (or was) certainly the best out there. However, the programmers responsible for this app have recently come down with a case of the same serious brain infection that took out the Google Maps designers last year.

TuneIn Radio has lost its focus. They seemed to have completely forgotten that they are, first and foremost, a radio player and got it in their heads that they were some kind of SOCIAL MEDIA app instead. The new interface has been complete reworked to look and feel more like Twitter than it does a radio player. The app still plays radio, so in that respect they didn’t completely jump off the deep end, but in the process of redesigning their near-perfect app, they crippled it.

Along with a host of...

 

 

brand new bugs (some minor, some bothersome) they’ve taken awake features and they’ve made other things more troublesome to use. An example of the latter is the way they’ve handled FAVORITES. I don’t know about you, but when I start a radio app, the thing I want it to do the easiest is to navigate to a favorite station. This is something that car radios have done well since they first invented car radios over half a century ago.

The old TuneIn Radio had this done right, but the new one hides your favorites and the forces you to make two steps to get to the station. If you have manually-entered stations (as I do) a new bug means that to change from of these stations to another you must first select a non-manual station. I’m sure they will fix this in future releases, but putting out this version with such a glaring bug is inexcusable.

I had a look at the comments this new version had in the Play Store, and it seems that unlike Google Maps they didn’t generate quite as much hatred. For every comment condemning the new version, there was a comment saying how much it was appreciated. Clearly the new version has split the audience in two. I’m not sure that alienating 50% of your existing fan base is exactly the way to go.

If you’re like me and you run a copy of Titanium Backup, it’s pretty easy to reinstall the older version of TuneIn Radio and at the same time have it removed from your Play Store database so that you won’t constantly be pestered to update to the new version. If you don’t have a way to easily return to the older version, you might be able to download a copy of it online and sideload it onto your phone. Sideloading does not require a rooted phone, but there’s always a risk that the version you download is infected with a virus. If you’re going to sideload, make sure you have a virus scanner installed first.

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