This folks is something I have been waiting for ever since Kevin mentioned it even before the BlackBerry Developer Conference. Now while the wait was a little bit of a killer for me personally, I'm finally able to say the wait is indeed now over and was well worth the it. FlyCast has come to your BlackBerry and has come bringing all of what it promised.
Never heard of FlyCast? You should read CrackBerry more! With over 1,000 channels of Music and entertainment, FlyCast stands and delivers an experience that I think BlackBerry users have been waiting for, with all this content being able to be streamed directly to your device for no charge to you, who can refuse. Content is king and FlyCast brings it to you.
FlyCast delivers a massive spectrum of content including news, talk, sports, traffic, weather and of course music. All this content is rolled up nicely in a very easy on the eyes GUI that fits in quite nicely with the Curves and Bolds out there and I'm sure will look great on the soon to be launched Storm. Sorry Pearl users, there's no love for you on this one at the moment.
Now I have to admit not all was rosey with the launch of FlyCast but that has no real bearing on its uses and user experience at this point. The thing I'm referring to here is the set up process. Shortly after launch I was unable to register the application from my device (invalid USERID error), no big deal. I hit up the support forums and quickly found the answer I was needing. I headed to the online registration and was up and running in 2 mins.
First up, the user interface is right at home on your device - the controls are well laid out and easily identifiable as to what they are. The only complaint I can mention here was that often times I saw the clock (hour glass) spinning on my Bold, often causing a lttle bit of lag in the device, but not while outside the FlyCast application itself. It was only while in the app I saw this happening... it obviously is an app that takes up a lot of system resources.
Next we have content. With over 1,000 stations to choose from at this point, FlyCast has you covered! Wanna listen to oldies? Or maybe rap is your thing? No worries either way as it's all there. Heck maybe talk radio is what you dig...FlyCast even has you covered there! This is probably the closest you will get to sattelite radio on your BlackBerry aside from XM Mobile. [ Note: Some channels are uncensored as well - at least that was the case with some of the ones I listened to. ]
Now comes the most mportant thing. Connectivity. How does FlyCast handle the situation with streaming? Is it like trying to watch an online video using dial up? No where near it actually (from my experience). I tested all options with this, from EDGE to 3G to WiFi. My experiences with EDGE was what I would call "sufficient." It was not the BEST experience, with the odd buffering and stalling at times but of course all this is reliant upon coverage as well. If you are in a good EDGE area you can expect less of this happening. 3G on Rogers was rock solid for me as well as over WiFi. I guess this sort of performance should just be expected, but sometimes you can't help but to expect the worst with these types of apps. One thing I did notice, that I have no real explanation for, is that the stations ran by AccuRadio always seemed to stream better then some of the others... maybe their services have more server power behind them?With some enhanced features built into FlyCast such as something they refer to as SongSkip, which allows users to skip ahead to the next song over the streaming audio (impressive), right down to StreamSlip, which allows for listening to music/shows without an active connection, I see FlyCast making a big splash on BlackBerry devices.
For those interested in FlyCast you can pick it up at http://www.flycast.fm and if maybe FlyCast turns out to not be your thing, be sure to check out Nobex Radio Companion - they were the BlackBerryCool 15 winners sponsored by the BlackBerry Partners Fund and offer a fabulous service as well for streaming radio.