In comparison to our Mac-loving brethren, music-lovers over in Droidland are blessed. Not only can we freely move and copy mp3s from device to desktop and back, but Android operating systems have long offered top options for music collection, sorting and playback within the device.
Me, I’ve run a rooted Samsung Infuse for two years now, and I’ve tested my share of music apps on the hunt for the perfect player. For my money (three dollars — there was a sale!) one of the best Android apps currently available for music is PowerAmp.
PC users familiar with WinAmp and its llama ass-whipping ways will find much to love about the similarly-named PowerAmp — file compatibility, equalizers, custom skins, and simple PC-style navigation that scouts the folders of the Android OS itself, enabling you to preserve the structure of your desktop’s mp3 library. In short, it offers absolutely anything you need to get your music off your device and into your ears where it belongs. For true audiophiles, PowerAmp features lossless FLAC and WAV playback. (As it happens, I can’t tell the difference between a FLAC and, say, a 320k-bit mp3 recording, but you might be able to. Yeah, you, with the gold wire headphones that cost more than your car.)
Google Music, for those who live in a country (or Google’s ambiguous term ‘territory’) that provides it, is also a contender in the quality race. Google Music offers full 320k mp3s as default, as opposed to Apple and Amazon’s 256k files. The differences are slight to most ears, but are of critical importance to hardened audiophiles who register every dulled cymbal hit or fuzzed-out acoustic guitar pluck with deep disapproval.
Google Music also features streaming, which iTunes has long promised and never delivered. Google Music’s ‘All Access’ streaming feature was just unleashed on Europe yesterday and we imagine Canada won’t be far behind. The service integrates with Android’s default music player, which is similar to the iDevice music player. However — wouldn’t you know it? — the makers of PowerAmp are indeed working on Google Music integration. The combination of two great services into an ultimate package? A ‘droid-based music-lover’s dream come true.
Of course, this is all preaching to the choir — if you’ve read this far, you’re probably an Android owner already, whether it be a big old Infuse like mine or the HTC One that seems so popular with the tech-kids.
We’ve gotta give Apple their due, of course: they make a quality product for most people, with a few good apps out there on iTunes, and an equalizer (deep in the settings). But when it comes to music players, you can’t beat the current ‘droid offerings. The proprietary software of iDevices prevents all-in-one programs like PowerAmp from existing in any iOS, much less cross-integration of different features — and this is where Android users have the undisputed advantage.
Plus, we don’t have to deal with iTunes on our desktops. Ever. High five!