A new version of the Nokia Music app for Windows Phone reveals that the firm's music apps and services are being rebranded as MixRadio. This name change makes sense, and coupled with some new features, this is a nice little update. No word yet on the Windows 8 version of the app, however.
In Windows 8 App Pick: Nokia Music, I noted that Nokia's music service sits functionality between simple radio station-like services—Pandora, for example—and Microsoft's Xbox Music with Xbox Music Pass. That it's inexpensive—there's a free Pandora-like version, but MixRadio+ (formerly Music+) is just $3.99 a month—is just the icing on the cake.
The Windows 8 version of Nokia Music hasn't yet been updated. But the Windows Phone version has, and what I see here is a nice update with some new features, a new tile-based user interface, and of course that name change.
So what's up with the name change? I suspect two factors are at work here. First, with Microsoft obtaining Nokia Music along with the other parts of Nokia that we all care about, there could be some consumer confusion between Nokia Music and Xbox Music. And second, MixRadio is a better name, because that is indeed the focus on this app (and service), which lets you "seed" radio stations with up to three artists—compared to just one with Xbox Music's somewhat similar Radio feature.
New features include:
New user experience. MixRadio now utilizes a nice tiles-based UI instead of the menu-based UI from the previous version. Best of all, it drops the pink-heavy look from previous versions: Now it actually uses your Windows Phone theme colors. Here's the old and the new, side-by-side.
Play Me. This is a personalized mix inspired by your unique music profile. Because I had previously created some instrumental mixes, my own personalized mix was heavy on instrumental movie soundtracks.
Ratings. You can now give each song a "Thumbs up" or "Thumbs down" rating to help refine your music profile, similar to how Zune used to work.
Sharing. MixRadio now lets you share mixes with your friends on social networks (Facebook and/or Twitter, using the built-in functionality in Windows Phone) or via email or SMS.
More. Bug fixes.
You can download Nokia MixRadio for Windows Phone 8 from the Windows Phone Store. (It's only available for Nokia Lumia devices for now.)