Over the past few years RIM has taken steps to convert the BlackBerry from an enterprise device to a more consumer friendly one. Of the many changes, multimedia capabilities stand out the most. New BlackBerry models, and even many not-so-new ones, can store and play music and video files. Not only that, but in recent OS builds we’ve seen streaming capabilities added. Today we’re going to focus on one aspect of BlackBerry multimedia management: loading audio files onto your device. It’s an easy process that can save you the hassle of carrying around multiple devices. If one can serve as your phone, PDA, and MP3 player, then all the better. Right?
BlackBerry Media Sync
Last year RIM made it easy to sync your iTunes library to your BlackBerry. All you need is a media-capable BlackBerry, the free Media Sync software, and a microSD card. Once you have everything in place you can manage your already-existing iTunes library, moving songs and playlists to and from your BlackBerry with ease. You can download Media Sync from the official BlackBerry website. I can’t believe I’m able to write this, but the software is available for PC…and Mac. For PC you’ll need Windows XP service pack 2 or higher with iTunes 7.0 or higher. For Mac you’ll need OSX 10.5.5 or higher with iTunes 7.7.0 or higher. So download and install it. You’re almost there. From there you can connect your BlackBerry and manage your media files. Depending on your media card size you might not want to sync your entire iTunes library. Thankfully, Media Sync gives you the ability to sync playlists, so only the songs you want to listen to will be transfered. An added bonus to this feature is that if you change the playlist on your library, it will update your BlackBerry accordingly when you sync it again. Also included is the ability to set the percentage of your available memory you’ll dedicate to music. This way you can keep a certain portion of your memory card available for other files, like documents or spreadsheets. And, if you want to manage your music manually (I’m a stickler for this) you can go that route, too. There are a couple of drawbacks, of course. First is for us Mac users. If you have other syncing software, such as PocketMac or MissingSync, installed on your computer you’ll have to uninstall them before you install Media Sync. I know many of people who wouldn’t consider this a big loss, but others who would, so it’s up to you. The other is that you can’t move DRM-protected iTunes files. These, for the most part, are files you purchase from the iTunes store or other Internet outlet.
Doing it manually
While syncing music can be an easy method of management, it’s certainly not for everyone. For instance, if you’re a Mac user who uses PocketMac, this won’t be an option. There are also those among us who like to control all aspects of media file transfers. This is where manual file transfers come into play. The process can be even easier than Media Sync depending on how intimately you know your music library. The first step, as always, is to connect your BlackBerry to your computer (Mac or PC). Your device will prompt you to enter mass storage mode. Click Yes. After that you should see another drive appear on your computer. Open that up in Windows Explorer or Finder, and click into the music folder (it’s probably a sub-folder of the BlackBerry folder). From here you can drag music to your media card and delete files. Once you’re finished just eject the drive and you’re all set. Click on your media player icon, click on Music, and you should be able to browse everything by artist, album, playlist, etc.