It’s no secret that I’m not really a big fan of Apple. I do own a 3rd-gen iPod, and that it’s a pretty impressive little device. But by and large, I find Apple products overpriced, and the trend towards being closed systems (you will buy from the App Store, and only the App Store) is disturbing. That being said, I do run iTunes on my PC–thankfully, Apple chose not to release it only for their Mac systems. I find iTunes to be fairly bloated but otherwise usable. I have, over time, ripped almost all of my CDs into iTunes, so it’s my primary repository of music.

Last fall I finally replaced my crappy LG Venus cell phone with a way cool HTC Incredible phone running Android. As you would expect, it’s capable of playing pretty-much any type of music file, either with the included player or one of many third-party apps you can find. What it lacked was a straightforward way of getting music onto the phone. Verizon included a CD with some PC software and a synchronization application, but it was clunky and horrible, and it completely ignored the fact that my entire music collection (like those of millions of other people) was stored in iTunes. I needed a better solution.

A quick web search identified a couple of candidates:

  • iTunes Agent–a free PC application that will sync iTunes playlists with almost any type of removeable drive (like what my Android phone looks like when you plug it in to a PC’s USB port). It worked okay, but it didn’t seem to handle playlists all that well, and album art wasn’t being copied to the phone. (This app may have improved since I tried it, in all fairness.)
  • Double Twist–a free media player for Android that includes a synchronization app. I found the PC application to be difficult and non-intuitive to use, and the media player itself didn’t really offer me anything I needed above what the built-in player already did.

I ended up using iTunes Agent because it was better than nothing, at least until I upgraded to a new notebook computer. I never ended up reinstalling iTunes Agent when I installed iTunes on my new notebook.

For whatever reason, yesterday I decided to check around and see if there were any new developments in this area. What I found was a great little app called iSyncr by JRT Studio. It’s $2.99 in the Android Market, but it works like a charm and is well worth that amount of money. It installs itself in your phone’s internal storage, its SD card, or both. When you plug your phone into your PC’s USB port (there’s a Mac version, too) and mount one or both of those as external disk drives, when you explore those drives you’ll see a small PC application called iSyncr.exe. Simply double-click that application to launch it on your PC, and you’ll see the following window pop up:

 

 

You simply check/uncheck the playlists you want to sync, and hit the Sync button. The Options button will bring up the Options window:

 

 

You can see that there is also the ability to “reverse sync” music you’ve purchased through Amazon.

To make it short and sweet, iSyncr does exactly what it says it will do, and it’s easy to use. Once I’d completed the sync of my phone with iTunes, all of my music and my playlists were there, ready to go. Can’t ask for any more than that.

Well, actually, I can–how about being able to sync wirelessly? JRT Studio has an answer for that, too–the iSyncr WiFi Add-On! It’s an additional $0.99 (can you afford it?), and it includes a server app you run on your PC or Mac to listen for sync requests from your phone. You can set it to sync at regular intervals or only when told. Additionally, it will reverse-sync your phone’s photos and videos if you’d like. That covers everything as far as I’m concerned–music, photos, and videos are the three things I want to be able to transfer between my PC and my phone. And it works–no muss, no fuss. These two apps were easily the best four bucks I ever spent on software.

As I was messing with all this, I found myself wondering why Google didn’t have its own version of iTunes. Apparently, it’s on its way.

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