Spotify, the premium streaming music service, will soon release a redesigned Android app, but if you can't wait for it to hit Google Play, Spotify is offering a preview version you can install right now. The new Spotify for Android preview features full support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, high-resolution images, new slide-out navigation, and improved social features. Spotify's mobile apps are available to users with a $10 monthly premium subscription.
Here's a look at some of the highlights from the new Spotify for Android app.
The New Look
The first thing you'll notice with the new Spotify for Android is that the bottom navigation bar is gone in favor of a slide-out navigation button in the top left corner. This gives the app more real estate on the screen for album views and track information as well as doing away with the old "More" button.
As usual, you still have menu items such as Search, Playlists, and What's New. You also have easy access to your Spotify inbox, a list of your friends and their playlists and the app's settings.
Spotify for Android's new focus on social features is apparent as soon as you navigate to the "What's New Section." Instead of seeing new album releases at the top, the Spotify for Android preview shows you album recommendations and top playlists and tracks from your friends, followed by new album releases at the bottom. Album recommendations and new releases are now shown in a horizontal thumbnail strip instead of the vertical list in the current version.
Tapping on an album brings up a new page with track lists, album art and release year for the album instead of the current pop-up window overlay. There's also a new button in the top right corner to add the album to your play queue or create a new playlist based on the album. A share button is also front and center at the top of each album page so that you can send links to friends via e-mail, Facebook, Google+, friends on Spotify and any other apps available for sharing content on Android.
The current track page has also changed from the old Android-style pull-up drawer to a full-screen display. Whenever a track is playing in the Spotify preview for Android a persistent frame appears at the bottom of the screen to let you call up the player controls with a quick tap.
Other new additions to the app include access to your friends on Spotify from within the app and improved artist pages that includes a related artists view similar to the desktop app.
If you want to give the Spotify for Android preview a try, go to Settings>Applications and tap the check box next to "Unknown Sources." Then click here from your Android device to get the Spotify Preview APK.