Monday, September 5, 2011

New BlackBerry Features Give new Life to my iTunes Account

Two new software features from Research in Motion for BlackBerry smartphones has breathed new life into my iTunes account, which had been languishing largely unused for years.

Wi-Fi music sync and media sync have been a feature of the BlackBerry Desktop Manager for a while now. Media sync provides for syncing media (music, pictures and video) between the desktop and the BlackBerry. On windows it will sync with either Windows Media or iTunes. Wi-Fi music sync moves the transport of music from USB or Bluetooth to a Wi-Fi network. This removes the tedious mucking about with USB cables or Bluetooth connection to update the music on my BlackBerry. Also, because I have a VPN connection between my router and other places I spend time, I can sync music anywhere I have a VPN endpoint.

The final feature is so new it is still in closed beta. I was lucky enough to be selected to test BBM Music. Punditry reaction to this new product has been mixed so say the least. Only time will tell how the market responds. So far I've found that BBM Music is an easy to use way of checking out new music. None of my contacts are in the beta program so I haven't been able to evaluate those features yet, but the power and flexibility of being able to stream music a contact has discovered and shared seems obvious. It is true that the current limit to the number of songs is 50. Some have argued that this is too low for the price. Of course that is a personal value judgement. I look at it like cable. I pay a monthly fee to watch and perhaps record shows on my PVR. I can keep as many shows as I have disk space for, and then have to decide what to delete to free up space for new shows. If I want to keep something long term I can buy the DVDs. Similarly, if I find a song through BBM Music that I want to keep I can buy it from any of available on-line music suppliers, or buy the CD.

For me BBM Music is a win, but that may be because I don't look at it in isolation but as another layer of richness that enhances and helps me balance my work and personal life.

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