I have been a huge fan of Pandora for a long time and am looking forward to the upcoming Pandora Party at the San Francisco Apple store. September 18, 2008. The ones in Oakland have been alot of fun.
Additionally, I just downloaded the new desktop application from http://www.pandora.com/desktop. I am really happy with it, especially considering that it is a Beta version.
Now I can take Pandora off my homepage tabs. I can access Pandora without even opening up an additional internet connection. Also, on my Mac, I can access everything (including making new stations) right from the dock. I would assume that windows users will have similar controls. Pandora originally decided they wanted to be web based (as opposed to desktop) for several reasons. They felt that iTunes, Rhapsody and other providers were already saturating the market with applications and they wanted to do something different. additionally, they felt that having users be ale to post a link (see my Pandora stations in the sidebar) where people can click on it and there would be no additional download required. You can listen straight from the web.
This application departs from that, but the power of the AIR platform and the relative small size of these downloads makes it a small price to pay for having the flexibility that a desktop app can provide.
Now if only the iPhone Pandora application could run without having to stay in Safari the whole time (when listening to Pandora, users cannot access other applications).