When I got my Android device last Christmas, I received it with the knowledge that it would be replacing several other devices. Truth be told, most Android phones being released now have the capability to adequately replace not only the old phone, but also things like dedicated GPS devices, cameras, and MP3 players.
This article will focus mainly on Android media syncing software that allows you to use your Android device as a media player for content you already own without changing your lifestyle.
Given the fact that iPods and iPhones control the majority of the PMP (Personal Media Player) market, it’s likely that a fair amount of new Android users are moving straight from an Apple device. This means that when you plug in your Android device, iTunes will outright ignore it. This wasn’t an issue when you owned an iPod, but now that you’ve migrated to Android you’re going to have to say goodbye to iTunes.
Please note that while there are some hacks and mods to connect non-Apple devices to iTunes, most if not all of them cease to function correctly by the next iTunes update. While it’s probably possible to make this option work if you try enough options, it still won’t be very reliable or seamless. That said, try that stuff at your own risk, and I’ll offer a few iTunes alternatives here if you need them.
Whereas Salling Media Sync pretends to be a lightweight plugin for iTunes, DoubleTwist strives to replace iTunes altogether–and in my opinion it does a pretty good job. In their ‘about’ page, DoubleTwist is slated as having the following mission:
We feel that just like you don’t use a different browser for every web site you visit (Firefox to read the NY Times, IE to stream Hulu, Chrome to browse YouTube, etc) you shouldn’t have to use iTunes for Apple products, Nokia software for Nokia phones, Sony software for Sony products, etc. The typical household today has many such devices and there is a need for a simple and powerful software that connects them.
When I read that statement, I see a piece of software that will never stop improving. Although DoubleTwist is still evolving, support for numerous devices has already been added to the software. The layout very much resembles iTunes except for the fact that it connects to the Amazon music store and not the iTunes store. Luckily, DoubleTwist can still import your iTunes music, so don’t worry about losing your collection.
Luckily, DoubleTwist is relatively platform independent, supporting both Windows and Mac (with some device exceptions). You will however need to check the list of compatible devices and click on the link for your device to attain the necessary plugin to support your Android Device, making it a perfect Android media syncing app. Below you see a screenshot of DoubleTwist sifting through the music on my Motorola Droid in a very familiar itunes-like fashion.
Aside from just Android devices, DoubleTwist strives to support almost anything that can play music and connect to a computer. If you have a PSP, Blackberry, Kindle, Windows Mobile phone, digital camera, or other media device, you may very well be supported. This makes DoubleTwist an invaluable resource to anyone with a supported devices because it connects content between all of your media devices and consolidates that content in one familiar-looking, simple, effective music management and synchronization program. It’s even got its own detachable media player, much like iTunes!
The beauty of Salling Media Sync is that it works on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. This means that no matter what operating system you prefer, you’ve still got an excellent Android media syncing solution. To use Salling Media Sync correctly, you do need to have iTunes installed (which is fine, since it works on all of the operating systems mentioned as well). Once required software is installed, Salling Media is relatively straightforward and easy to use.
It’s important to note that when you connect your Android device, you need to click “mount” (on the device) to connect it as a mass storage device –otherwise Salling Media Sync will not recognize it. From there, open up the software, check off your favorite iTunes playlists you would like to transfer and hit “Sync”. I would recommend that you register for a Salling Media Sync account because as mentioned on the website, once registered the software will intelligently update your phone (which saves a lot of time and effort).
Note that video is not officially supported for Salling Media Sync, so rely on it for music, pictures, and podcasts for now. The real beauty of this software is that it’s easy to use, very lightweight, cross-platform, and of course — free! Give Salling Media Sync a try if you’re just looking to get your iTunes music onto your Android device.
In addition to Android phone support, Salling Media Sync supports a wide variety of phones running many different operating systems for both Windows and Mac, so it’s more than likely that the usefulness of this software will expand to your other media devices as well. Here’s a short video detailing how the program works on the Mac OS.
If you went and checked out the Salling website, you may have noticed that a paid version of Media Sync is available as well, touting faster transfer speeds. As a reference point, I used the free version to sync about 8GB of music to my Motorola Droid, and the entire process took less than 15 minutes. To me, that’s completely acceptable–but as the consumer it’s always up to you.
Although the Android operating system is just beginning to latch on to a considerable portion of the market, it seems that media content synchronization is still not supported extremely well from an official standpoint.
What software do you use to sync media to your Android device? Do you prefer an iTunes replacement, or simply software that communicates with iTunes for your device? Let me know in the comments section–I’d appreciate it because I still haven’t decided between the two!
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