At the release of Palm’s Tungsten T, many were displeased to learn that while it was technically able to play music in MP3 format, there were no apps available that could do so. In the past few months, third party developers have been hard at work to remedy this. However, this is still little sign of the RealOne player that was promised last year.
Aerodrome Software has released AeroPlayer 1.0, after this app being in beta since December. This allows users to play MP3 files from an external memory card, in addition to Ogg/Vorbis audio files.
AeroPlayer allows music to be played in the background while other apps are being used. It can also dim the Tungsten T’s screen to save battery power. It sells for $16.
Another option is Pocket Tunes 1.4 from NormSoft. It also plays both MP3s and Ogg Vorbis files, plus it can play WAV files. Like its competitor, it can play audio files while other apps are in use, plus both have skinable user interfaces. Pocket Tunes sells for $10.
Audio Patch Now Available
Both of these applications require an audio patch that Palm has just released. This fixes a bug in the Tungsten T’s ROM software that causes downsampling. Until this update was available sound quality in both Pocket Tunes and AeroPlayer was fairly marginal. Users are reporting that the patch totally solves this problem.
Last week, an advanced version of this patch was leaked. This improved the audio quality but reduced the volume of all sounds played on the handheld. The final version of the patch, released just a few hours ago, doesn’t effect the volume at all.
RealOne Player MIA
At COMDEX in November Real Networks announced that it would release the RealOne Player Mobile by the end of the year. Obviously, this didn’t happen. According to a Palm’s website, the developers decided to add more features to the app, which delayed its release. It goes on to say the app will be available “in the next several weeks.”
At this point, it is not known what these new features will be. At the time of the initial announcement, Real said the player would allow users to play audio files in the background while running other applications. It will also automatically dim the screen while playing music. In addition, users will be able to transfer their personal audio collections from the RealOne Player on their PC onto their handhelds. It will only support audio, not video.
The head of Real Networks demonstrated this app during a speech at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show.
Not a Primary Use
Palm doesn’t seem to consider music playback to be a significant part of the Tungsten T’s functions. The most obvious sign of this is it shipped without an MP3 player. It also doesn’t come with a set of headphones, though it does have a jack for them.
This is in stark contrast to Sony, all of who’s high-end models come with MP3 players and headphones. Also, almost all Pocket PC models come with a version of the Windows Media Player, which allows users to play both audio and video.