Microsoft and Xbox Music team are hard at work on improving the app experience for Windows Phone 8.1, but judging some of the comments from last night's update, many of you are still not satisfied with the current level or progress.
Developer Philippe Maes, who makes the popular app Cal, is stepping in to offer his solution dubbed 'OneMusic.' The app is due in the coming weeks, but I managed to get my hands on a release-candidate and I have been using the app for a few weeks now. Here is a quick hands on tour of what to expect.
If you use Cal for your calendar, then you'll see where Maes got his inspiration for the design. It's very similar to that app, and that's a good thing, as I like the clean, minimalist look of Cal.
One Music is has the familiar categories, including:
- Playlists (plus creation)
Upon initial launch of the app after installation, the app will scan your entire music collection, which could take some time. After that though, the app is very quick to launch, and it will only need to re index if you add new music or the app gets updated.
Users can use the player controls to repeat the songs, repeat the current song and randomize tracks. OneMusic also supports swiping tracks left or right to change to the next song (sorry I forgot to demo that in the video, but it's there).
If you're using OneMusic to play your tunes, when the app is running the background, and you bring up the volume/player controls, tapping it will bring you right back to the app as expected. And it's quick. There's no lag, no black screens, no issues.
Perhaps the one and only drawback could be a deal killer for some of you: it obviously cannot play Xbox Music DRM protected files. In that sense, OneMusic can't completely replace Xbox Music on your phone if you use a monthly pass option through Xbox. If, however, you just use your own purchased music on your phone or SD card, OneMusic works perfectly, and it is probably the best alternative yet.
OneMusic is due to land very soon, and I'll of course let you know when that happens, including pricing, etc. My initial impressions though should be clear, OneMusic is an app to watch if you're looking for a fast, clean alternative to the Xbox Music app for Windows Phone 8.1
Watch the hands on video above and let me know in comments what you think the app may be missing, and overall what you think. The developer will be watching and considering your requests!
And if you haven't tried Cal yet, you can grab that app here in the Store.