Slacker Adds Wireless Music Caching to Android, BlackBerry

As much as I love Pandora for mobile music streaming, I’ve become more enamored with Slacker over time. Today, Slacker added what was promised at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show — music caching that enables offline playback. BlackBerry (s rimm) handsets already offered music caching, but it wasn’t a wireless function. As of today, with the latest version of Slacker, it is for BlackBerry handsets as well as Android (s goog) devices.

Offline music caching requires a Slacker Radio Plus subscription, which is $4.99 per month, or a yearly fee of $47.88. The subscription also provides your music ad-free, offers unlimited skips and complete lyrics for songs. Slacker says that if you’re not a subscriber, you can still test the offline caching with a 14-day trial. Nosing around the forums, I see that caching will take place over Wi-Fi or your phone’s cellular connection. Nice to see that it isn’t limited to just Wi-Fi, although that’s the default connection. You can also schedule an auto-cache so the software will be fully loaded when you wake in the morning, offering connection-free tunes during the day.

The new Slacker version for BlackBerry is limited to certain handsets. Older Curve 8830 plus 8300-series and lower devices aren’t supported with this version, so if you have one of these, don’t look for the new cache feature. Given the general similarity between Pandora, which offers both a free and paid program, I’m curious if you’re using Pandora, Slacker, or both of these music apps on your handset. And is anyone besides me wondering why Apple (s aapl) is leaving money on the table by not offering a music subscription service?

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Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Forget Synching, Let’s Put Music in the Cloud!