I have always held close the dream that one day I would be able to replace all my portable gadgets with my BlackBerry. While this has not yet come to pass I have started using my Curve as an MP3 player. I just cannot use the video player because it is very clunky. It is missing essential basic functions that are just unforgivable oversights. I really wish RIM would treat the consumer media player as more than just an add on application to generate buzz.
These are the reasons I am forced to carry around another device for video:
- Remembering your last position – One of the key features of any video player is to remember where you were in the video so that you can easily return to it. This feature did not exist until OS 4.2.2 on the Curve. Even now if you open an MP3 file it will forget your position and you will have to try and find it once again. You will also lose your position in a video (such as a movie) if you restart the phone or accidentally close the media player.
- Fast Forward & Rewind – This is an oversight that I just cannot explain. With OS 4.2.2 you can skip forward by minutes. This means if you lose your place in a video you have to skip to the minute before and watch it over again. This is not that big of a deal but it would take RIM seconds to change!
- Full Screen Delay – RIM finally implemented full screen video in the latest versions of their OS but it is nowhere as seamless as I would want it to be. First of all there is no way to set how long the menu will show before it will disappear. Say you just wanted to check the time. Thats another 5 seconds of status bar. Could they not make it overlay on the video with transparency?
- Volume – This is a problem across all of the Media Player. Why are there only 7 different volume options. I am stuck between a setting that is too quiet and one that is eardrum busting. This is not a limitation of the hardware because 3rd party applications have managed to overcome it!
- Video Conversion – This is a problem with most portable video players. I got spoiled with my Creative Vision which plays 90% of the videos I download. I wish they would at least make iPod h.264 videos work on the BlackBerry. Then I could at least copy movies from my friends with iPod’s
There has been some progress in the last few months. The review Greg did of Videos4BlackBerry just goes to show that there is an audience for videos on your BlackBerry.
I also happen to know that Eveek.com is working on a video site dedicated to BlackBerry devices that will allow users to upload and download videos in the right format and screen size either OTA or from their Desktop. I think there ETA is middle to late Q1 2008.
Last of all I am hopeful that the future of video on BlackBerry will look better. I use a great Video Converter called SUPER Simplified Universal Player Encoder & Renderer which is completely FREE! It is utilities like these that give me some hope that watching video on a BlackBerry will actually be pleasant experience in the future.