Music on the go just got a little better (and more expensive) with Slacker Radio 2.0 for Android and Slacker Radio 3.0 for BlackBerry. The free apps allow music lovers with a $3.99 Slacker Radio Plus subscription to wirelessly cache their favorite stations, which is great for times when you’re not connected–or if want to save some juice. Slacker says that playing back cached songs provides up to five times longer battery life than wireless streaming.
Wait a minute. Didn’t Slacker 2.0 for BlackBerry do caching for free? Yes, and you can still use the older app, although it won’t be seeing any feature upgrades.
The big benefit of Slacker Radio 3.0 is the new Auto Station Refresh feature, which updates cache stations overnight via 3G or Wi-Fi. It literally wakes up your device to deliver an updated batch of tunes. Before you had to tether your BlackBerry to your notebook via USB. And Slacker has never offered caching on Android at all. You also get unlimited song skipping, no ads, and complete song lyrics.
Slacker Radio 3.0 for BlackBerry is compatible with models 8500 and higher, including the BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Storm, and BlackBerry Curve series smart phones. Slacker 2.0 for Android should work with all existing devices.
Time will tell if Slacker users will be willing to pay the premium for wireless caching. But to give users a taste of the benefits the company will offer 14 days of caching for free. And you can always stream the old fashioned way without paying a dime, at least for now.