Slacker Radio slides onto the iPhone

Slacker's free iPhone app looks good, sounds good, and is pretty much guaranteed to play tunes you'll like.

Updated 1/14/08 at 12:16 a.m. with U.S.-only service details.

Slacker on iPhone (Credit: CNET)

Leave it to Apple to make Slacker look like a...you know.

Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, streaming Internet radio company Slacker Radio released Slacker Radio for BlackBerry (download), and announced that an iPhone cousin was coming out as soon as Apple approved it.

Announced on Tuesday, Slacker Radio for the iPhone and iPod Touch is just as lip-smacking good as anticipated, and is primed to give other streaming music apps like Pandora, Last.fm, and Tuner Internet Radio a beating.

The app makes the most of Slacker Internet Radio's customary dark, good looks on the iPhone's tall display. The album art is much more prominently displayed here than on the BlackBerry, and the controls take center stage. You'll be able to fine-tune a station while it plays, and pick a new station without terminating the current song.

Choosing the next station is incredibly easy--your favorite and custom stations are at the top of a vertically scrolling list, with a search option, top stations, and the Slacker spotlight just below. Keep scrolling down to flick through the genres.

The songs sounded great through the Wi-Fi connection, and fairly good through 3G. We're bummed you can't build a new station on the iPhone, and for more flexibility, Slacker Radio ought to flip over to landscape mode.

Also, though it's Apple's doing and not Slacker's, we miss the app's ability to cache songs onto a Micro SD card as on the BlackBerry, and furthermore its ability to play songs in the background while you work on other tasks.

The next best thing Slacker can offer is to resume playing your station when you reopen the app.

Slacker Radio is free and available now from the iTunes Store. Like other streaming music services born of the Web, you'll need to register to begin. It currently works in the U.S.; Slacker is not releasing details on when the service will internationally expand.

Note: Last.fm is owned by CNET's parent company, CBS.

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