(This guide is for iPod fans who don't have the cash for a real iPod)
Most of the newer Palm handhelds support MP3 technology, meaning you can store and play music files on expansion cards. However, most are pre-loaded with a very low-powered player called "RealOne For Palm OS", which only plays your songs and creates playlists. The only extra feature is that it integrates with the desktop version of RealOne Player... but who uses that?? And to make matters worse, the software only plays MP3 and RM (RealMedia) files. This may be fine for people who rip CDs to MP3 only, but what about those who have subscriptions to online music providers (such as RhapsodyToGo or NapsterToGo)? The songs downloaded from said providers arrive in protected WMA formats. So that means RealOne For Palm won't play them. And if you're one of the people who use the OGG Vorbis, or WAV formats, (surprise!) they can't be played using RealOne For Palm either.
Enter NormSoft's PocketTunes Deluxe 3.1. This amazing software plays not only MP3, but WMA, OGG Vorbis, WAV, and protected-WMA files. Not only that, but you can create playlists from using ANY of these formats. But even better, it integrates with Microsoft's Windows Media Player software, meaning you can drag and drop songs from your library to the device, or create a Sync Playlist that automatically transfers a playlist of your choosing onto you Palm! Besides a free 15-day trial, PocketTunes is available in three versions:
- The Bundled version is included with popular handhelds like the Palm LifeDrive or the Palm T|X. It can play MP3s, create playlists, integrate with Windows Media Player (for transferring MP3 songs only), and play in the background while you work on your Palm. You can't buy this software because it's only bundled with new Palms.
- The Basic version allows playback of MP3, WAV, and OGG Vorbis. It has a very accurate graphic equalizer, support for skins (customized player interfaces), background playback feature, and integrates with Windows Media Player (for transferring MP3 songs only), and gives you a year of email tech support for a year, plus free upgrades to new versions.
- The Deluxe version is by far the best. It can playback MP3s, WMAs, protected-WMAs, WAVs, OGG Vorbis, and streaming Internet audio (wireless-enabled Palms only).
It has an impressive graphic equalizer, skin support, crossfade, and auto-bookmarking.
I like this version the best because it does everything it should do, without error messages like those often found in RealOne Player For Palm or the horrible AeroPlayer.
Best of all, PocketTunes is very inexpensive.
The Basic version is only $14.95 USD, and the Deluxe version is only $34.95 USD.
The easiest way to buy this software is through the PocketTunes website (http://www.pocket-tunes.com).
And now, how to turn your Palm into an iPod:
Make sure you have these system requirements before proceeding:
- At least 1,500KB (1.5MB) of free memory on your Palm
- Windows Media Player 10 or 11
- At least 5MB of free hard disk space
- A USB port
- An SD expansion card
- First, if you haven't done so already, download Pocket-Tunes (http://www.pocket-tunes.com).
If you want to try before you buy, they offer a free 15-day trial download. All the features are enabled for 15 days, afterwards you have to purchase it.
- Secondly, install the program to your palm.
(Hopefully you already know how to do this, but if you don't, follow these steps:I hope this guide was helpful. It's at least cheaper than buying an iPod! :)
- Locate the file after downloading. It'll be in a .zip file, so uncompress it.
- Then double-click the file named "pTunesSetup".
The installer will ask you details like where to install, what type of Palm you have, etc.
- Afterwards it will tell you to perform a HotSync to transfer the application to your handheld.
- Tap the HotSync icon on your Palm to begin the install. If this doesn't work, refer to your handheld documentation.)
- Third, launch the PocketTunes program on your Palm. (It'll be in the 'Multimedia' category in the launcher.)
Click OK if you haven't registered.
- Fourth, go to the skins download area of the PocketTunes website (http://www.pocket-tunes.com/skins).
Most of these are free, and you can even contribute your own if you know how to program one.
- Look for the skin entitled "Pod Skin". Download it to your computer.
- Double-click the file entitled "pod_skin.prc".
The QuickInstall box will open and ask you if you want to add the skin to the install queue.
Confirm Yes, then minimize or close the box (HotSync usually refuses to synchronize if the install box is open).
- Tap the install icon on your Palm. Once the sync is complete, launch PocketTunes from the launcher, and tap the drop-down list icon underneath the house icon on the Graffiti part of your screen. Go to Tools | Choose Skin. Tap Pod Skin, and tap OK. The Pod Skin will load. The skin behaves almost exactly like a real iPod; the Play button Plays/Pauses, the Back and Forward buttons browse between songs, and even the Menu button brings up the PocketTunes menu. PocketTunes also has many more free skins available at http://www.pocket-tunes.com/skins You can make PocketTunes look like iTunes, Windows Media Player, WinAmp, Charlie Brown, and more.