UberMusic brings a Zune-like interface to your Android music player

by Michael Ian

As much as we laud the Android OS as the most versatile, it sure can get pretty ugly. Ice Cream Sandwich hid most of the blemishes with Google’s “Holo” theme , but with fragmentation and all, most users are still stuck on Android 2.3 and below. Even Google’s own stock music app seems like an afterthought. As much as many would love to hate Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 design, it’s pretty difficult to shrug off Metro’s beautiful interface. But thanks to Android’s open source nature, a handful of apps like Launcher 7, WP7Lock and Messaging 7 bring the monochrome colored tiles and Segeo typeface to our handsets.

Creator of the popular Launcher Pro, Federico Carnales, has created a near-identical version of the music player that brought about the Metro madness: Zune. Christened as UberMusic, the app brings the same stylish UI to Android. In fact, putting the app side by side against an actual Zune, it’s a wonder why the the folks at Redmond, WA, haven’t sent their legal team knocking on Federico’s door.

Like Metro, the overall layout is mostly text-based. Songs are categorized by tabs (album, songs, genre, folder, playlist etc.) on the screen, so navigating through your songs is pretty simple. You can also customize which tabs appears on the startup screen, so minimalist fans will love this feature. However, the major lack of manual search makes finding your favorite tune a chore. UberMusic instead forces you to scroll through the list of music just for that one song.

Another visual aspect taken from Zune is the “Now Playing” section. Placing a heavy emphasis on presentation, UberMusic puts the whole screen to use. Grabbing Artist data from last.fm, UberMusic sets images from the music site as a background. Also tapping on a band or artist name brings up a small summary of their music history. This inclusion brings you in-depth knowledge of your favorite musician. Of course, this only works if your song metadata is properly tagged. It’s suggested you tag your songs to fully appreciate the app. While not optimized for tablets, the “Now Playing” section looks just as great as on smartphones.

Keep in mind that all the information is constantly being pulled from last.fm so those with limited or capped data plans may want to stick with Wi-Fi. Thankfully, once data is downloaded, you can things offline.

If you’re a big fan of Launcher Pro, expect to find the same quality here. Scrolling through the hundreds of songs queued up on my playlist was extremely smooth. Like his previous app, Frederico bring customization to the table. UberMusic is skinnable to themers, so if you’re not much of a Metro fan, you can easily find a theme to match your taste. Currently there are a handful of themes and like the app, they are quality work, right down to the widgets.

As smooth and as pretty Ubermusic is, hardcore audiophiles may find the app to be pretty limited. There’s no equalizer, and importantly, no manual search. The app had a promising start but could use a few updates. Unfortunately, Frederico seems to have abandoned the project as the last update reached phones almost a year ago. Though, to the developer’s credit, UberMusic is still a top notch music player. Despite some flaws, UberMusic is a great way to interact with your songs. If you’re in the market for an intuitive and visually pleasing music player, give your songs a makeover with UberMusic.

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