The folks over at Real, inc. have announced a beta version of their upcoming RealPlayer multimedia application for Android. With this release, RealPlayer hopes to become the app Android users turn to for enjoying and sharing their music, videos, and pictures. We have spent some time with the beta application, and what follows is our initial impressions of this potentially game-changing app.
Now, I must admit that I am a big fan of the look and feel of the stock Android music player. With that in mind, I am fairly unimpressed by the overall look and feel of the RealPlayer music player. When companies choose to release something that feels different from the feel of stock Android, I want it to be visually stunning or at least pleasant to look at. Unfortunately, the most current beta release of RealPlayer is neither stunning nor easy on the eye. Hopefully this will be improved in future releases.
Yes, UIs play some part in whether or not we enjoy our applications, but it is not everything. If you develop a multimedia player that looks gorgeous, but doesn’t do the job well, most users are simply not going to use the app.
So how well does RealPlayer handle this playback? Fortunately, RealPlayer seems to get music and video playback right, and it does it all from within one application.
The photo slideshow viewer, however, is potentially the most useful feature of all. This feature allows users to play pictures from their gallery in a slideshow, with settings (transition times, transition animation, etc.) completely determined by user input. I was showing a slideshow to some friends this afternoon and was very impressed with how easy it was to set up and show off my favorite pictures. A very useful and impressive addition, and actually somewhat unexpected for a company known for music and video players.
Overall, I think RealPlayer is good enough to give it a shot. Go and test it out and provide some feedback so Real, inc. can make this a contender to replace the stock media player. The RealPlayer beta application can be found for free on the Android market, conveniently linked in the QR code above. More information can be found on the Real Android website.