October 5th, 2010 → 11:24 am @ Rekha at PRX // Comments Off
We know, you’ve waited patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) to be able to do other things on your devices while listening to the Public Radio Player. Well, it’s here. If your device/OS combo can background other applications, it can now do that with the Player. This includes certain iPods as well.
Why did it take us so long? Well, while we were in the code, we couldn’t stop ourselves from making other improvements. Better one update than many! Not only has the alarm clock been fixed (some people were having problems with it), we made it better. We made significant updates to audio stream handling, which will improve connectivity and performance and support more formats. Supporting more stream formats means more stations will be able to join in the fun. That’s a win for you, too. (Stations, view all supported formats here).
So be sure to keep an eye out for the app update — to version 2.1.3 — and if you like it, consider giving us a nice review in the iTunes Store. Tell us all things, good or bad, on our Give Feedback page.
If you’re reading this while listening to the Player, let us know that too.
Now go on and listen to more great radio!
Apple made several interesting announcements yesterday during its music event.
Here’s one that we’re particularly looking forward to: iOS 4.1. This update to the relatively new iPhone/iPod operating system releases next week, and we think it will improve the experience of 3G iPhone owners using the Public Radio Player and other apps, too. Simply put, iOS 4.0 does not play well with the older, 3G iPhones. For some people, this means your apps, including the Player, may move more slowly or crash more often.
While one never knows how a software update will work until it’s ‘out in the wild,’ we suspect many 3G owners are looking forward to next week. Public Radio Player users have something to look forward to as well in a couple more weeks: An update to the Player that will enable multitasking on your devices.
March 9th, 2010 → 11:17 am @ Rekha at PRX // Comments Off
Public Radio Exchange (PRX), which develops the Public Radio Player, will be part of the mobile technology festivities this afternoon at Xconomy’s Mobile Madness event in Cambridge, MA. Jake Shapiro, our executive director, gets a full minute to explain our iPhone development strategy to New England’s business and technology community. In that brief span of time, he’ll introduce the Player and our This American Life app, and talk about plans for future apps, including one for Boston station WBUR.
It’s a good thing he talks fast.
The event is sold out, but if you already got your tickets, come by the PRX table to say hello and maybe score a freebie.
Happy holidays to all. We’d like to take a moment to welcome those who unwrapped a new iPhone or iPod Touch this season. We like to think of it as receiving the key to the Public Radio Player kingdom.
Once you’re unpacked and charged up, we encourage you to download the app if you haven’t already.
Then, read on:
Getting Started with the Public Radio Player
For specific station and program recommendations, check out our Facebook page and these blog posts:
We’ll be rolling out some major performance and feature enhancements in the next couple of months, so be sure to download those app updates when iTunes tells you to. Subscribe to this blog for details.
The Public Radio Player application can’t run in the background*, but our team certainly can… and we are. We haven’t blogged in a while, but we’re on Facebook and Twitter, and we’re keeping an eye on your questions and comments.
The real evidence of our ongoing efforts is in the app itself. Player users will have noticed lots of new content in recent weeks. As public radio stations and programs from across the U.S. submit their streams and podcasts, we add them.
If you’re even tempted to think that “public radio” means just one kind of programming, give a listen to some of our newcomers:
All of these streams can be found in the Live section of the app. With so much choice, don’t forget to use the Favorites, Local, and Search features to keep it simple.
* Translation: Third-party applications like the Player aren’t allowed to run while you do other things on the device (e.g. play a crossword or use the calculator); you have to exit the app first. Only native apps like iTunes can “run in the background.”
Photo courtesy of the American Museum of Radio & Electricity.
There are many reasons to watch our brief video demo. Maybe you’ve been using the Public Radio Player but have a nagging feeling there are more features you’re not using. Maybe you have an iPhone or iPod Touch and are deciding whether the Player is for you (though frankly, it’s free, so we say give it a go). Or maybe you don’t have an iPhone or iPod but want to know what the hype’s all about.
All good reasons. So here it is. (Re-posted on YouTube to be viewable on iPhones and iPods, too.)
Anyone who has used the Public Radio Player can tell that this app is powered by some serious code. Giuseppe Taibi is a key member of our development team. His iPhone skills are big in Italy. (His family makes delicious olive oil, too.) For those of you with a technical mind and ample curiosity, Giuseppe provides a tour of the Player’s architecture.
- Tapping into a large pool of talent: there are far more web developers than Objective C ones
- Portability: WebKit, the core engine for Mobile Safari, is also the core engine for other evolved smartphones web browsers such as Android, Palm Pre and Nokia’s Symbian.
WebKit is the fastest web engine on earth. It is also the one with the lightest footprint and, to top it off, it is also open source.
Now live in the iTunes Store: The Public Radio Player! We used to call it the Public Radio Tuner, but this version is so awesomely different that we’ve given it a new name, a new logo, and even a new Facebook page.
What’s so different? The Player has the station schedules and on-demand streaming that we’ve promised for months. (Incidentally, in that big survey we recently invited you to take, 75% of Tuner users requested each of those features. Done and done.) Such significant additions required a revamped user experience design. Nor did we let new development distract from the basics: We’ve improved stream performance, too.
As with all major releases, there are some quirks. We are reading your feedback and looking into the issues.
A note to stations: Check the Guide for Stations soon for Web graphics with the new logo and some fun on-air and online promos. Thanks as always for being the force behind the app’s success!
The Public Radio Tuner has been around long enough now that many, many iPhone users have had a chance to try it out, and even make it a part of their lives.
That’s just about the right time to ask you to take a survey.
The survey is hosted by NPR. Please give us a few minutes of your time. Not only will it help improve this iPhone app (with version 2.0 due out soon, we promise), it will inform all sorts of public radio mobile efforts, iPhone and otherwise.
Plus, it’s anonymous, so you can tell us what you *really* think.
The Public Radio Tuner has been downloaded 1.5 million times. Thanks to those of you who helped get us here by spreading the word! But we’re not done yet. We want to be on every iPhone and iPod Touch out there (who wouldn’t?). You can help by joining our Facebook group, twittering about the app, and, of course, simply TALKING about the Tuner with your real-world friends. Given the interesting tug-of-war happening in the iTunes reviews, you might be tempted to participate there, too.
In the meantime, we’re making great progress on Version 2.0: The Public Radio Player. Designed with your input. Coming out in June 2009.