Rethinking Internet Radio, Part Two: Using the Cricket Muve ZTE Score Mobile Phone as a Web Radio

At the SWLfest this year, I attended a forum about web/Internet radio that had a significant influence on my thinking about the subject, and which I discuss in Part One of this post.

In short, I decided that I wanted to take a considerable plunge into web radio and get to know the medium a little better. But I needed to do it on the cheap!

The Cricket Muve ZTE Score

Fortunately, serendipity stepped in to assist my cause: Last week, I saw a post on the Herculodge about a no-contract, Android smart phone called the Cricket Muve ZTE Score. Best part? It was (then) on sale for only $29.99 and I could pick it up at my local Best Buy retail store.

Teamed up with my Goal Zero portable amplified speaker, I knew this would be a great, portable wi-fi radio to use around the house, office, and on the road.

Needless to say, I jumped onboard!

The Cricket Muve ZTE

I have an Android phone now (the Droid 3) and have the TuneIn app on it that I mention in the previous post.  But, frankly, I don’t like using it to stream radio.  First, it kills the battery in no time flat, and secondly, it’s a phone, so when someone calls, I have to unplug it from speakers to talk. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer a dedicated internet radio, if I’m going to have one.

The Goal Zero Rock Out Portable Speaker and Cricket Muve ZTE Score

After unpacking the Cricket Muve ZTE Score, I was pretty impressed with the included kit. It has internal memory and, by means of a (4GB) micro SD card, expandable memory, too. It also comes with a charger and is packaged very securely.

What surprised me most, however, was the fact that no hacking was required to use this phone as a mobile device without, of course, signing up for the Cricket pay-as-you-go account! In fact, I turned it on for the first time, found my wi-fi network, entered the password, and was online within a minute. I really expected to face annoying prompts or something similar to prevent me from using this phone without service. What a surprise…!

I then installed the TuneIn app (see previous post) via the pre-loaded Android app store (now called Google Play). Within seconds, I had access to TuneIn’s extensive and well-organized directory of radio stations from around the world. Readers, take note:  This was so easy!

The Cricket phone easily fits inside the Goal Zero's zipped case--total wi-fi audio freedom

Coupled with my portable, capable little Goal Zero amplified speaker, I now have a portable and completely wireless web radio. I should mention that the Goal Zero speaker, like the phone, can be charged and operate without being plugged into an outlet. I found that the phone would stream radio quite easily for 4-5 hours without being recharged. The Goal Zero speaker will run on a fully charged internal battery in excess of 10 hours.

But back to the Cricket Muve ZTE Score.  Since this is an Android phone, it’s basically a phone and handheld computer. It takes photos via the built-in camera, will take movies, and has a built-in GPS. I have not tested other apps on it, but in theory, you could use most any of the thousands of applications available in Google Play.

Negatives? Well, don’t get me wrong, this is a very inexpensive phone. As such, it doesn’t have the smooth feel of my Droid 3’s screen and feels lightweight, cheap and “plasticky,” if that’s a word.  Longevity is in question.

Still, for just $32 with tax, it was excellent value and a no-brainer to put it into service supporting my favorite medium. Since last weekend, I noticed that the price has increased to $69.99. I still think it’s a good deal at that price.

I imagine that either Best Buy or Cricket will have this phone on sale again in the future. I’ve provided links below to help your search:

If you’ve used other no-contract Android phones, or know of other ways to achieve a dedicated web radio on the cheap, please comment with details.  Thanks!

Spread the radio love

8 thoughts on “Rethinking Internet Radio, Part Two: Using the Cricket Muve ZTE Score Mobile Phone as a Web Radio

  1. Pingback: TuneIn adds the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive | The SWLing Post

  2. Bob

    I was going to install “Tune In” to try it out because so many folks raved about it. But, for whatever reason the app wants to know my phone status and identity.

    I refuse to install any app that is snooping on me in this way. IMHO it’s a major computer security problem. I found that many streaming audio apps “snoop” on you. I have installed the CBC Radio player which doesn’t snoop.

    In my home, I simply use a dedicated GNU/Linux computer and I usually use the “Banshee” music management software for streaming audio and podcasts. I then simply hook up a low power FM transmitter tuned to an empty frequency (fortunately these days there is one) and then just listen in on an FM radio in other parts of the house.

    Reply
  3. Thomas Post author

    I certainly would consider checking these out. I would side for the Logitech only because many of my friends that are “in the know” with wi-fi radios swear by them. You’ll have to comment on your thoughts if you purchase one.

    Reply
  4. Kf4ukb-Doug

    Hello Thomas. Are you considering trying out Internet radios like Grace and Logitech make? I’m going to buy a G-3 shortwave on Amazon, but am also considering adding an Internet radio to my order.

    Reply
  5. Thomas Post author

    I haven’t yet. Thanks for the feedback, though. I’ve placed all of my attention this week ion raising a large horizontal delta loop at my house. It required a powered outdoor antenna tuner (powering it with a small PV panel and 9aH battery). Almost complete now. My wife stole the “Rock Out” speaker and has been using it with her iPad via TuneIn and listening to Brazilian stations. She likes the audio without the mod, but I may still try it.
    I do tend to void warranties!

    Reply
  6. Guy Atkins

    Hi Thomas, I found a Goal Zero “Rock Out” speaker locally and have been enjoying it for Internet radio for a week now. I use my backup mobile phone, a HTC Radar (WP7 OS) for accessing the TuneIn app via wi-fi. This is a great little speaker and thanks for mentioning it in your article.

    I immediately pried open the internals on the Rock Out speaker to do the modification, but eventually decided to leave it in stock form. I find the audio almost perfectly acceptable for the speaker’s purposes. Maybe it’s my upper frequency hearing deteriorated over the years, but I just don’t think the very minor treble attenuation is anything to lose sleep over. I’d rather leave the existing layer of foam in place for protection for the speaker cones.

    Did you go ahead and do the mod? If so, what do you think of it?

    Reply
  7. Thomas Post author

    Thanks for the kind comments, I will certainly give that mod a go. In the past, I’ve primarily used the Goal Zero speaker with my iPod Touch which I change the EQ to compensate. I must say, those speakers are quite handy. The mod may make RFI Musique sound even that much better! Thanks again!

    Reply
  8. Guy Atkins

    Hi Thomas, this was a great pair of articles! I enjoy the Tunein app also, as a portable alternative to my Grace Digital internet radio. As shortwave fades on the western horizon, more and more I turn my attention to the rising of internet radio on the eastern horizon…

    I thought you might be interested in this modification of the Goal Zero speakers. See the first review and its comments on this Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Goal0-90401-Rockout-Speaker/product-reviews/B0045XV2CI/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

    -Guy

    Reply

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