By February 21, 2009

Is a sync client a necessity for a good mobile music experience?

image I have been giving media a huge amount of thought over the past few months and why it is so successful on the iPhone, but such a bad experience on other devices. Ask most Windows Mobile users what they use to listen to media on their device and nearly always the answer is “I don’t use my device to listen to music.” Now why is that. Well I think I know the answer, quite simple there is no software that can provide a good experience with organising music, videos or podcasts quite like iTunes. Lots of people hate iTunes but for me it is an amazingly simple solution for organising your media.

Now lets take the drag and drop scenario from a Windows Mobile device and the awful Windows Media player and we can see why it doesn’t work. I don’t want to manually handle syncing of music, tagging items as podcasts, dragging files around its just too much hassle for me. Sure there are other solutions that some people use but none of them are simple and cover all the bases.

Windows Mobile 6.5 has just been announced at MWC 09 and they failed to announce any improvements to the media player, they sit there and toot the horn of Windows Mobile saying how it is a consumer phone and a business phone but then deliver an awful media experience, get a grip its not good enough. The rumours are that Windows Mobile 6.5 will eventually launch with Zune services, now that would be interesting however we still haven’t even seen what that is because outside the US and Canada, Zune is inaccessible. So what’s so good about the possible Zune integration with Windows Mobile, I don’t think it will be the interface to the mobile media player that will provide the huge improvements but the big advance will be the Zune Marketplace software and what that can bring.

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We have great media players for Windows Mobile already, take Kinoma for example, lovely software but it lacks in one massive area. No desktop interface and this is the reason it doesn’t deliver. Kinoma should go away now and work on some desktop software that you can organise your media with simply on a large screen, not your mobile device, give us a way to download and subscribe to podcasts, insert music CD’s and rip them to the library and even a music buying service through Amazon or similar but make it simple, make it organised and when I plug a Windows Mobile device into my PC make it a one button press solution to sync the media to my phone. That is how any new media player for Windows Mobile will make it big.

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The Palm Pre is another phone heading down the wrong road, we have seen very little of their media player to date but again it will not be the actual player that makes or breaks it but how you get the media onto the device in the first place. Please let us have the ability to organise our media on our PC’s or Mac’s and give us the ability to have it done automatically.

Imagine for a moment what the iPod would be like now without iTunes, dragging and dropping files onto a hard drive, creating folders it just wouldn’t be anywhere near as successful as it is today, it would have disappeared as just another MP3 player.

So the answer is quite simple, to create a great mobile media experience it needs a mix of both on phone and off phone software. The off phone software is the most significant part of the experience and the part only Apple seem to understand, come on Kinoma, Microsoft, Palm etc it’s not that difficult to do, what do you think?

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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