IMHO, the native Pearl MP3 player has all the feature any user needs at this point in tim. I have tried several that are out there roaming around and they all have several downfalls that I cannot overcome. I am writing this only because a lot of people don't think about what the native player can do and what they are not getting when they are purchasing third party apps for MP3 to use on their phone. If the developers can overcome these issues then I will stand corrected but the native player has several advantages that most users should be aware of before forking out their hard earned money.
1. Use of volume control hardware buttons is not available. The third party apps are trying to use keyboard buttons for volume but you have to have the app in the foreground which is a huge pain if you need to turn the volume up or down quickly and/or often.
2. Intergration with mute button to pause. They are not currently structured to pause the song when the Mute button is pushed. When you press Mute it keeps playing just silently so you miss the songs and waste the battery life.
3. Intergration with phone. When the phone rings and you answer most of them have very wierd reactions including continuing to play and having to listen to both the music and the caller at the same time. You have to exit out of the phone during the call and manually pause the track to avoid this. Luckily, to date, in my testing of these applications I have not heard from anyone on the other end that they could actually hear my MP3s but it is still very distracting, especially when the phone is largely used for business.
The native player does have all of these functions and most can be figured out by playing with the menus and/or searching the forum:
- Play Track
Play All Folder Tracks
Play All Folder and Subfolder tracks
Next Track (if shuffled this will go to a random track)
Playlists (need to use Windows Media Player while Pearl is connected in Mass Storage Mode but it is quite easy and effective)
Support for large files (I regularly listen to a 156MB file)
Plays videos (none of the third party apps do this yet)
As for my complaints on the current interface for the native Media Player, here they are:
Shuffle and Repeat should be selectable options in the user interface and not require the menu access but why should I expect RIM to do this when Apple hasn't done this for the iPod (which requires going through multiple menus to toggle these two functions).
Native ability to create playlists directly on the device and ability to add all MP3 including subfolders into playlist as an option.
Allow Play All (which plays all MP3s in the folder and subfolders) without having an MP3 in the root of the folder. Currently, it is required to have an MP3 file in the root folder to have the Play or Play Folder or Play All option. I currently have a 5 millisecond MP3 call Play All in the folder so I have the Play All function in the root of every folder that has multiple subfolders. However, a playlist function would probably handle my issue with this.
I know these things are not one size fits all and everyone has their preferences and opinions and methods for using these apps but I thought I would put all of my thoughts in writing to inform some of the newbs that think they need a new MP3 player. Also, to note my dislikes of the current MP3 player but overall the native player is functional and works very well.
Now, on a final note, if a third party can somehow develop software magically have basic hardware buttons for next and previous track it would be great....this is a joke by the way, RIM should have created a method for changing tracks using hardware buttons if you are not in the Media app since they already have pause and volume, a couple simple buttons for changing tracks would have been nice.
Good luck to all developers that are creating MP3 players and if you overcome the three main issues noted I may be inclined to retract my opinion.
I am sure I will get bashed by many for stating my opinion but remember it is humble.
7100sib ---> now an avid 8100 user
edited to remove the harsh criticism of third party apps and focus on the positives of the native player.