It’s Coming Back] Spotify for Android drops the homescreen widget, prepares to roll out Automix for playlists


Update (9/3/19 @ 4:54 PM ET): Spotify has decided to reverse course and bring back the home screen widget.

Spotify for Android is one of the preferred options for music streaming for a lot of users, providing healthy competition to services such as YouTube Music and Apple Music internationally, and services like JioSaavn in India. In light of the unrelenting competition, it is a no-brainer that all of these services would continue adding features that would retain existing users and bring in more of the new ones. Now, Spotify is preparing to roll out Automix feature for playlists, hoping to keep its existing users happy. But in the same breath, Spotify has also removed the homescreeen widget from its Android app, which seems counterintuitive to the overall goal.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

The latest version of Spotify for Android contains strings that suggest that the service intends to roll out its Automix feature to a broader audience:

Allow smooth transitions between songs in a playlist.

As the description implies, Automix aims to enable smoother transitions between the tracks in a playlist. According to Digital Music News, automix will take you from the end of one song to an appropriate spot in the middle of another song, aiming to create a smooth and seamless transition. It works within Spotify’s playlists, and you need to set the mix to shuffle.

While this is good news for a lot of users, what isn’t good news is that the update also removes the homescreen widget from the Android app. Widgets haven’t been in the spotlight from Google for a few years, but that doesn’t mean that they are no longer used. People still use them, and a homescreen widget for a music player is one of the better use cases for Android widgets. According to 9to5Google, Spotify for Android v8.5 will no longer allow users to add a widget. If you had the widget already placed, it will remain present but in a non-functional state. Spotify has confirmed that the change is intentional, justifying the removal with the reasoning that playback notifications achieve the same result, but forgetting that the notification can be swiped away when the music has been paused for a while.

Spotify: Discover new music, podcasts, and songs
Spotify: Discover new music, podcasts, and songs

Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.

Update: It’s Coming Back

Spotify apparently heard the outcry from users and will be bringing back the home screen widget. According to a Spotify Community Manager, they’ve “made some improvements to the performance and visuals of the Android Widget” and it will be returning in a future update. Huzzah.

Source: Spotify

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