Nokia N900 tips & tricks: Stream music wirelessly via the web browser and services
In my post earlier today where I listed several apps I wanted to see on the Nokia N900 you will see streaming music apps were listed. A reader then posted an obvious comment asking why I didn’t just try out services via the amazing Nokia N900 web browser. I am having a lot of “Duh” moments with the N900 because I keep thinking of it as an iPhone or other device where apps are needed to work, while the device is more like a netbook/UMPC and you need to think of it more as a mobile computer. Thinking along these lines then takes you to the obvious conclusion to try to access sites and services you want via the web browser like you would on a PC. Starting with this approach led me to try out several possible streaming music alternatives so check out my results below to see what will work for you on the N900. I’ll shoot some video of these tests later and post the video in this blog post.
The most popular streaming music client we see across multiple platforms is Pandora and I am very pleased to report it worked quite well over my T-Mobile 3G connection. I was even able to turn on the N900 FM transmitter and stream live music over my car FM stereo. The Pandora site is not really optimized for a small display, but once you choose a “station” then you can let it play without interacting with the display. Another great thing about the N900 is that you can multitask with the N900 while listening to this streaming music. There are some limits and you probably don’t want to try running more than 6 to 10 apps with the browser streaming music.
I LOVE my blue FC Sounders Zune HD and the latest Zune 4.0 software includes a web streaming interface. The Zune.net site opened quickly and I was able to login to my Zune Pass account. However, I was then presented with a window to download Silverlight 3.0 to listen to tunes. My hopes were raised a bit when I clicked to install Silverlight and a Linux option (Novell Moonlight 1.01) appeared and seemed to download into the Mozilla browser as a plug-in. Right at the end of the plug-in install I received a pop-up stating it was incompatible. It appears that something may be written to work on the N900, but it isnt’ quite there yet.
I personally find Last.fm to work better for me at serving up various music I like even better than Pandora. I was then quite pleased to see Last.fm worked like a champ and actually has a player interface that is easier to navigate and control on the N900 than what we find with Pandora.
Imeem also played, about at a C level since the music would cut in and out at times. The interface is also quite clunky on the N900 and I wouldn’t really recommend using this service on the device.
I was unable to get Slacker to stop with the refreshing and pop-ups, even with changing the browser settings, and thus was unable to use this service.
IMHO, the best streaming music service to use with the Nokia N900 web browser is Last.fm followed by Pandora. A couple of the others will work, but the interfaces and quality are too inconsistent for me to recommend at this time.