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RANT! Why Can’t We Have A GOOD MP3 Player?

LoudspeakerNot long ago RIM relented and gave us a MP3 player, external media, and a standard headphone jack. Since then they have made some small improvements but the features and options are still pitiful! When OS 4.3 came out on the 8130 I was hoping for some nice additions but still nothing. So now we are hearing the rumors and features of OS 4.5 and still there are no major announcements in terms of the MP3 player other than an external SD card slot. What happened to the consumer focus? Is this really as good as it gets?

I have been trying to rectify the situation with multiple solutions. First I tried some third party MP3 players but the lack of volume control & mute keys outside of the application killed the experience. The only thing these 3rd party MP3 players show is how much better of a job RIM should be doing. FlipSide is nice and all but the BlackBerry OS does not let developers really address these concerns.

I will list my compiled complaints below. Let me know if you agree:

  • No dedicated next and previous track buttons outside of the MP3 player
  • Volume control is horrendous. Why are there only 10 options? I have to choose between a little too quiet and my ear drums bleeding. All of the 3rd party MP3 players have fixed this issue…
  • NO EQUALIZER!!! or audio normalization
  • I cannot set the MP3 player as a softkey. You can set the playlist but not the current song playing?
  • No BlackBerry profile for when MP3s are playing – This means that whatever profile you have set on your BlackBerry does not change if you are listening to music. So if you are on the Loud profile and have a loud ringtone expect to get an earfull when your phone rings.
  • ROXIO, ROXIO, ROXIO – Where do I start. This application could actually be considered a downgrade. It is clunky and provides no real function other than slowing down your computer.
  • PODCAST SUPPORT – Need I say more?
  • Can’t delete songs from the now playing screen – you need to go into the media browser and delete the song. Nor can you delete a song from a playlist!
  • Can’t create an on the fly/go playlist
  • Can’t rate music
  • No explanation of the “device memory limit” option of 12MB or 15MB
  • When you get a call while listening to music and answer the call you cannot use the headphones to hear and the mic on the phone to talk. You have to remove one headphone and talk through the phone.
  • On top of that after the phone call ends you then have to open the music player again and hit play to start the music up again.
  • Can’t edit the song title of a song – we have a full keyboard why not make use of it…
  • Gapless audio – Yes I know I am dreaming

And the list goes on. Hopefully RIM is listening… Would it really hurt them to round out the MP3 functions on their “consumer” devices? Or will the media player always feel like a tacked on feature?

11 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I think all BB’s should share the same enhancements. My 8820 is strictly personal use. I don’t think any BB is just buisness oriented only anymore. IMHO the 8820 was the best looking and I didn’t really care about the lack of a camera. 😀

  2. All I want is the option to save my current place in a podcast if I switch for to a different song and then come back. Don’t know if this as part of your “podcast support”

    Everything else I can deal with.

  3. FYI. The blackberry does have dedicated Previous and Next keys…while in the music player. Press “N” to go to the next song and “P” to go to the previous song. Granted this isn’t as dedicated as having completey seperate keys but it does work.

    One additional rant. Why, sometimes at the end of a song, does the music player just stop and not advance to the next song? The other issues are less of an issue for me than this because a music player, in the most basic sense, is supposed to play music. Unfortunately this is how I stumbled upon the “N” key to kickstart the player. Sigh.

  4. “Volume control is horrendous.” I think you exaggerate in that point. 10 options should be enough for anybody. 😉
    “you get a call while listening to music and answer the call you cannot use the headphones to hear” – I have no idea what you’re talking about. That happens to me in other players, like the one that dollars5 sells, that I really like but never use precisely because of that problem. But I never have that problem with the stock Blackberry player, which is what you seem to be referring to.
    My biggest complain is not being able to rewind a few seconds. I mean, no more than 5 or 10 AT MOST. That is awful. When I listen to podcasts, sometimes I don’t quite get something they’ve said and I want to rewind… and the Blackberry player forces me to go back TWO MINUTES and listen to them all over again. I have simply given up on listening to podcasts in my Blackberry. I’ve gone back to my Palm and now carry TWO DEVICES around like an idiot. Some convergence.
    The lack of playlists is also a shame. At least that Artists/Albums/Genres scheme could work decently. My ID3 tags are all kept in order, but the Blackberry media player still fails to detect a huge number of tracks way too often. Consequently, I use that folder browsing shortcut and listen to one folder at a time. The Artists/Albums/Genres browsing thing is rendered useless. The dollars5 player handles playlists pretty well, but then it won’t let me answer calls properly.
    OK, so we all agree that playing media in a Blackberry phone kind of sucks.

  5. Luciano – you can go back a few seconds. Just use the undocumented feature of holding down the Alt key as you scroll back.

  6. I know that trick. It doesn’t help. There’s only so much you can really go back. Eventually the attempt is ignored, the program decides how much you can seek. Anyway, skipping back with the trackball is horrible. And holding a key at the same time? Ugh!

  7. One of my own:

    When the shuffle music is played the device should remember the song that played in the previous shuffle session and play other songs.


  8. Hagay I totally agree. I hate the fact that it does not remember the last shuffle. Maybe we need to petition RIM to create a more RANDOM shuffle. I really wish it would just remember where you were in a song or podcast when you close the application. Its a real pain to lose your place and try to find it again with the trackball and alt.

    BTW has anybody figured out what the hell the “device memory limit” is? Im curious…

  9. Hey guys, i see you’ve looked into this problem a bit more than i have..

    My biggest concern was the lack of continuous playback – the annoying SILENT GAP between songs really ruins some albums, and is a pain on the more sensitive headphones.

    I havent tried any alternative players yet.. Suggestions?

  10. Arte,
    I dont remember which but I think either the dollar5 or xplayer mp3 player offered a feature like gapless playback. Never tried it myself but its worth a shot

  11. • “No dedicated next and previous track buttons outside of the MP3 player”

    I hear ya – it drives me nuts having to switch to the media player to change tracks, and the “N”/”P” (next and previous) short-cuts ONLY work whilst the media player is in the foreground!

    They don’t need dedicated keys, but they do need some sort of short-cut outside of the media player…

    For example, if you have the media player running in the background on a Sony Ericsson phone, you can press-and-hold one of the volume keys to skip forwards/backwards!

    • “NO EQUALIZER!!! or audio normalization”

    Yeah, what’s the deal here?

    As I understand it, the BlackBerry Pearl series has an equalizer… But they leave it out of every other series???

    Uh huh, THAT makes sense.

    • “Can’t edit the song title of a song – we have a full keyboard why not make use of it…”

    Whilst this is not a “standard” feature on phone-based digital audio players, you have a very good point – we have the PERFECT physical solution for doing this, so why not implement it?

    It wouldn’t take that much effort to implment such a feature, and it’s only logical to do this…

    I would also like to see a “music recognition” feature – on Sony Ericsson phones, you can record ten seconds of a song, which is then sent to the third-party Gracenote, who identify the song by album, artist and track!

    I believe certain North American carriers also offer the same feature on their devices, some of which are BlackBerrys.

    ~ Posted wirelessly from my BlackBerry 8800 ~

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