Pandora for Windows Phone 8 official with 1-year ad-free included

Windows Phone 8 devices will get a year's ad-free access to Pandora, the streaming music service, Microsoft has confirmed at its launch event today. The new app was a much-demanded one by would-be Windows Phone users in the US, and is part of Microsoft's attempt to fill in empty gaps in the smartphone platform's line-up.

Pandora, for those who aren't familiar, takes an initial suggestion of an artist by the listener, and then builds a custom playlist based on music it thinks will be similar. It's based on interlinking audio data from the Music Genome Project, with users rating suggestions to guide how the playlist develops.

Of course, Pandora isn't the only streaming music service out there, and Nokia is perhaps going to be frustrated by the news of its addition. Nokia Music has already been available for Windows Phone 7 devices, and will be included as an exclusive to Nokia's Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices, as part of the company's attempt to pull together differentiating features.

What may save Nokia is Pandora's limited availability compared to Windows Phone overall. Microsoft will be pushing its smartphone globally, but Pandora can only be used in the US; Nokia Music, meanwhile, is offered with all of the Lumia phones, no matter where they're sold.