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March 3, 2008 / Marco

Introducing Mundu Radio For Cell Phones

A little background information

For those who tend to keep an eye on the services Nokia offers, the name Nokia Internet Radio rings a familiar bell. This great application allows you to listen to thousands of radio channels via your S60 FP1 handset, and it’ll also come pre-installed on upcoming S60 Nokia cell phones. I was planning to dedicate one full article to Nokia Internet Radio on my blog; however, it’s not accessible with Symbian screen readers like TALKS and Mobile Speak. That’s saddening because this lack of accessibility means many people won’t be able to use a standard Nokia application on their N78, N96 and other handsets.

Moving past the accessibility barrier

At any rate, to satiate my radio-listening desire, I started googling to see which S60 radio applications exist on the blogosphere, and I was lucky enough to come across Mundu Radio. This Symbian-signed beta application allows you to listen to internet radio channels with a highly accessible interface. To start using this application, you should create an account. Your user ID and password are used to log in to the Mundu Radio service after installing the application on your handset. To create the needed account, visit this page.

After creating the account, simply download Mundu Radio here. Basically, you’d specify your platform (e.g., Palm, Symbian 7.0, Symbian 9.0, Windows Mobile Smartphone), and select the Submit link to get it. The installation is typical of any Symbian application, and on an S60 FP1 handset like the N82 you can find Mundu Radio in the Applications folder. Simply select it from the Applications folder, wait for a few seconds, type your user ID, press “Down”, type your password and press “Key 1″ to log in. Note that the log-in screen isn’t 100% accessible, that is, Symbian screen readers don’t read the name of each field like Username and Password; as a consequence, as soon as you bring it up, type your username and password without pressing Up/Down to lose your correct typing field. Also, the log-in information should be typed whenever you want to bring up Mundu Radio.

The first time you log in, Mundu Radio updates your playlist. The playlist database consists of a list of URLs to radio streams on the web. By default, Mundu Radio gives you the ability to listen to a good number of channels categorized in different genres such as new age, news, classic, world, acoustic, and so on. To select a channel in one of these categories, press “Key 1″, go to “Change station”, select a genre and then press “Select” on one of the pre-defined channels. Mundu Radio starts buffering and you’ll get instant audio in a matter of a few seconds or so. While listening, you can press the joystick to right and left to increase/decrease the volume. You can stop streaming at any time by pressing “Key 1″ and selecting Stop. To access a list of recently opened channels, go to “Recent stations”.

What if you decide to add more genres or channels to your playlist? Beauty comes from within, and here you can observe the versatility of Mundu Radio. Using your computer web browser, go to the Mundu Radio home page, log in with your username and password, select the Add new station link, fill out the form, and select the Save link. It’s worth mentioning that Mundu Radio can open channels whose URLs point to a *.pls file. When adding or modifying stations is over, select the Update playlist option on your handset. For more information about what you can do with this unique application, visit this page.

Limitations and minor issues

As with other internet radio directories, Mundu Radio helps you listen to a vast number of radio channels, but most of them are available in the 16, 24, 32, 40 or 64 KB per second quality range. In other words, don’t expect to have a listening experience tantamount to your digital radio or satellite channels. Also, if you use Nuance TALKS to access Mundu Radio, I suggest that you mute TALKS as the application starts buffering or playing a channel because TALKS tends to repeat the information which appears on the screen for a few seconds and this might influence the listening process. Even when you alter the volume, TALKS tries to read a lot of dynamic information which tends to be incomprehensible in most instances. You might find it a bit strange that the program doesn’t have online help, but the more you use it, the better you can handle its simple interface. Finally, Mundu Radio remembers the last station you were listening to before closing it, but doesn’t connect to it the next time you log in. I don’t find it beneficial, but know that it might prove to be useful in many occasions. I’d like to have a setting to control the behavior of the program upon logging in.

If you have given it a try, do you find it accessible or handy enough? Do you know of any other accessible radio applications for S60 3rd Edition handsets?

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