Pandora for Android is under development now. We’re a startup and sometimes the world has a way of stepping in and changing priorities, but assuming that doesn’t happen, our plan is for Android to be the next big mobile platform launch for us.
Over the course of the last year Pandora has come in for a lot of criticism for the prioritization choices I’ve made about which mobile operating systems to support and when to support them. I brought some of that on myself, and I deserved to be criticized. Because we’re a relatively small team we’ve decided to focus on one mobile OS at time with the goal of bringing Pandora to every “smartphone” platform where our users want us. There are those that want to believe that I’ve made those choices based on some personal preference for one OS or another. Others see some kind of payola at work.
The reality is that we started with the iPhone because it was an extremely compelling music phone with an extremely compelling developer SDK. We followed on with Windows Mobile and BlackBerry because they have huge volume. Then, perhaps most controversially, I chose to develop for the Palm Pre next. That decision hinged on a unique opportunity Palm presented to us: to be one of just 5-10 developers that worked together with Palm on the initial launch of the Pre. This opportunity was unique in that it essentially guaranteed that every Pre customer would easily find Pandora in the download store. It also seemed likely that we’d have an opportunity to play a part in their launch advertising and press. All of this has come true. Pandora for the Pre turned out really well, nearly every Palm Pre user has installed the application, and Pandora was a meaningful part of their launch story and advertising.
While we were busy doing everything I just described, the Android universe has developed nicely. The G1 is a really good phone. I routinely carry one myself. But the so-called G2 is a great phone. And there are more Android handsets in the pipeline that are extremely compelling. The OS has also evolved noticeably with lots of great new features for developers and end users to take advantage of. While I regret our inability to be part of the Android community from day one, I’m really excited to join the party in progress.
Update, August 10th: We’re still hard at work on this, and have been every day since this post. It’s going to be great. Stay tuned — it’s coming.
Update, Sept 6th: Well look at that… Sprint mentioned Pandora in their HTC Hero press release. Hmmm… starting to sound like “we’re working on it” is more like “coming soon”.