Will AOL's iPhone app pave way for Pandora?

Donald Bell muses on the iPhone 3G's new possibilities as a streaming radio player.

Donald Bell Senior Editor / How To
Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.
Donald Bell
Photo of AOL iPhone 3G radio application
Will AOL's streaming radio app open the door for others? AOL

Details of AOL's streaming radio application for the Apple iPhone 3G have surfaced after it was revealed that the application won an Apple design award for "Best Entertainment Application" at this year's WWDC. The free application will be available for the iPhone 3G next month, allowing users to stream 200 AOL online radio stations and 150 terrestrial radio stations over both Wi-Fi and 3G cellular connections.

While news of streaming radio capabilities coming to the iPhone is certainly exciting, personally, the thought of listening to terrestrial and AOL online stations doesn't exactly get my blood pumping. The larger story here is that Apple and AT&T have shown a willingness to integrate streaming media into the iPhone, opening a door for streaming audio services such as Pandora, Last.fm, Muxtape, and others.

Of course, converting interactive Adobe Flash-based streaming audio Web services into iPhone applications is no easy task, and the payoff has yet to be proven worthwhile. The possibilities are promising, however, and if the same application can be ported over to the iPod Touch (maybe even integrated with the iTunes Wi-Fi music store), consumers really will have a new way to discover music on the go.