DoubleTwist to Be the Android Version of iTunes?


In an iTunes world, synchronizing music to a non-Apple device remains a challenge for some. We saw it with the Palm Pre — which had unofficial iTunes support shuffled on and off quite a few times. For the record: that song stopped playing months ago. And this challenge is evident even more with the bigger Android user base. With the Nexus One, I’m doing what I did with the Palm Pre — using DoubleTwist. And the platform appears poised to take over the stage when it comes to music management on mobile devices.

TechCrunch expects a formal announcement out of DoubleTwist sometime today. T-Mobile has apparently signed a deal to promote DoubleTwist as a media management platform and will showcase in-store banners to promote it. Not only that, but you might see DoubleTwist pre-installed on some T-Mobile Android handsets as part of the deal. That bit is actually intriguing to me, mainly because you currently don’t install DoubleTwist on a mobile device. Instead it resides on your PC or Mac, just like iTunes, where it manages the content and converts for use on hundreds of devices.

Note that I said it “converts for use.” That’s one of the reasons I abandoned iTunes for DoubleTwist months ago. The other reason is that I’ve only bought DRM-free music from Amazon’s MP3 store, which is also integrated into DoubleTwist. The conversion functionality within DoubleTwist means you don’t really have to worry about file formats, codecs and the like. DoubleTwist knows which devices support which formats and it simply converts as needed, depending on your specific device or devices. Granted, DRM-encrypted tunes are still a no go — DoubleTwist doesn’t “crack” the DRM for you, although that’s kind of ironic. The program was created by Jon Lech Johansen, aka DVD Jon. Jon created the DeCSS application which cracks the protection on DVDs. ;)

Although DoubleTwist may not appear as polished as iTunes, I can’t help but recommend it. It works as advertised for both audio and video files. Just this weekend I schlepped the entire Beatles catalog from my Mac to my Nexus One via a custom playlist without a hitch. With most people wondering how to get their iTunes library to various mobile devices these days, DoubleTwist’s simplicity and effectiveness can make it a hit on Android, Palm, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices, not to mention the Sony PSP and Amazon Kindle.


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