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At long last, Pandora released its Windows Phone 8 app this morning. Microsoft says the free app will come without ads for the remainder of the year — a benefit usually reserved for the premium Pandora service. Unique features include the ability to pin personalized radio stations to Windows Phone 8 Start screen for quick access, plus the ability to see what is playing at any given moment from the Pandora Live Tile on the Start screen.

It’s a significant milestone for Microsoft’s mobile platform. While the free service period isn’t likely to attract new users in droves, it is a nice bonus for Windows Phone users who have been waiting patiently for the popular music service.

The app has been working smoothly so far on my HTC 8X, allowing me to log in to my existing Pandora account and pin my favorite stations quickly. The navigation is smooth and relatively straightforward. As a regular user of Pandora’s free iPhone app, I am happy with the ad-free experience on Windows Phone 8 — not just avoiding the audio ads but also the on-screen ads, which can make Pandora’s iPhone app difficult to navigate at times.

Pandora also integrates nicely with the Windows Phone 8 lock screen for quickly stopping or skipping a track. A thumbs up/down option would be a nice addition on the lock screen, as well, but for now that feature requires going into the app itself, which isn’t a huge deal.

Now if I could just get my Windows Phone to work with our iPhone-enabled speaker dock …

Download the Pandora app for Windows Phone 8 here.

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