If you listen to music in either iTunes or Windows Media Player, would you consider a remote to control your music? What would you say if I told you that you may already have one? PlayerPal is a software application for Windows XP and MCE that can turn a mobile device into a remote control. What kinds of mobile devices can you use? How about a Sony PSP, a Windows Mobile handheld, a Mac, a Tablet PC, even a Nokia 770! Basically, any device that has network connectivity and a web browser will do the trick because PlayerPal runs as a web service on the computer where your music is stored. The pic to the right is how PlayerPal shows my iTunes library in a web browser on my host machine.
Just to clarify: PlayerPal isn’t a music-streaming application. You won’t be listening to your music library on your mobile device. Instead, you’ll be controlling the main computer where your music library is housed, and that’s where the sound will come from. Granted, if you have a standalone PC that you sit at all day and listen to music, you might not be interested in this type of application. If you have a computer set up with your home stereo equipment, however, this could be just the type of remote control you’re looking for as opposed to directly interacting with your music "server".
Installation of PlayerPal is a breeze; just follow the simple steps to install it on the computer where your music is stored. You might need to make some firewall setting adjustments, but the PlayerPal site covers this info. Once installation is complete, PlayerPal will scan your iTunes or Windows Media Player library. This process took only a minute or two with my library of around 775 songs. After that, you’re all set to control your music!
There’s no software to install on your mobile device as you control your tunes through a standard web browser. PlayerPal supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari, IE Mobile and the Sony PSP browser. To test the theory, I turned on the WiFi radio of my XV6700 Windows Mobile 5.0 phone and opened up IE Mobile. Then I simply browsed to the IP address of my host machine where PlayerPal was running and sure enough I saw the following screen.
Notice that the iTunes library on my XV6700 looks the same as on my host machine above? Now if I tap an album, say Enya’s "Amarantine" on my mobile device, the browser will update to show all of the tracks on the album, as well as hyperlinks to Play all Tracks or play single tracks. Just for kicks (and because I love this album), I tapped the title track.
On the host machine, iTunes fired up the song and began to play. Here you can see how iTunes actually was changed on my host machine as I’ve got the Mini-Player shown on the host machine. Remember, I never physically touched the host machine, I controlled the iTunes client directly through my Windows Mobile phone and PlayerPal.
Again, if you sit at the PC where your music is stored, PlayerPal might not be for you. If you want to remotely control your music library with a mobile device, however, PlayerPal definitely works as advertised. You can download a free trial of the software and if you decide to purchase it, PlayerPal costs you $19.95.