If you just bought a Droid and it's your first Android device, you're probably still busy getting used to the interface, setting up all of your email accounts, calendars, and the like, and possibly looking for replacements for all those Apple App Store goodies you've come to rely on in the past year or so. But if you haven't asked yourself this question yet, it's coming very soon: "What do I do with all of my old media?"
You'll find that the Amazon MP3 store (Droid has a dedicated app) is a fast and convenient way to purchase new, copy-protection-free music on your Android device, though it doesn't include a handy media management and syncing tool such as iTunes. However, the makers of the app I'm about to discuss are currently working on Amazon MP3 Store support. It's not all there just yet, but it is coming. Your new toy can be a killer media player for your existing media right now though, so don't fret.
I realize there are nearly limitless options for buying, stealing, managing, and backing up digital media out there, but there's no way I can address every single person's concerns. So, I'm going for the audience that has adopted what has become the standard for the purchasing and management of digital media, iTunes. There is currently one program that is far and away leading the very small pack of Android iTunes solutions, alternatives, and er... um, e... equivalents. It's called DoubleTwist (click for download).
DoubleTwist is a free app for Windows and Mac that more or less feels like iTunes. Once installed, it will ask you where your media library is located on your hard disk. It's pretty self-explanatory from there. But if you felt like downloading and testing every potential iTunes replacement for yourself you wouldn't be reading this, so I'll offer up a quick walk-through so you can dip your toe in the experience. (cont.)
After you have DoubleTwist installed, connect your Droid and pull down the notification bar at the top of the screen. Select the "USB Connection" option and then tap "Mount." Your Droid is now being accessed by your computer as a USB Mass Storage Device. You can browse it like any drive on your computer and you could simply drag and drop media files to the phone. That's not the friendliest way to do it though, and it's tough to stay organized using that method. DoubleTwist will detect the phone and you'll see "Motorola Droid" in the left pane. (cont.)
From here, you can browse the media currently on your Droid. But wait, before we move on, you see that "Playlist Setup" link above your device? Click it to create a new playlist or import the ones you have created in iTunes. I'll choose to import. (cont.)
Now that I have all of my iTunes playlists available in DoubleTwist I can just click and drag one to my Droid. I can select individual tracks as well, but I think I'll transfer my Thai language playlist. (cont.)
When I initiate a transfer, a little pie chart that displays progress will pop up next to my Droid in the left pane. (cont.)
Once the transfer is complete, the pie will disappear and it's safe to eject the device. In order to do so, hit the eject button next to the Motorola Droid entry in the left pane. The phone has been safely unmounted but it hasn't been told to read the SD card again, which is where your media is located. Pull down the notification bar and select "Turn off USB storage," then hit the button labeled "Turn off."
You can now open the Droid's music app and play your files. If you want to transfer video the process is exactly the same only you'll use the "Gallery" app to access it. Yeah, I know. Weird. I want some videos on my phone, so I'll connect the Droid again and highlight it's entry in the left pane to see how much space I have left for media. (cont.)
Cool, I've got plenty of room to spare. Here's a shot of me pulling some videos over to Droid. See the progress meter? (cont.)
So there you have it: An acceptable method of managing your iTunes library for use with an Android device. Wait a second. Some of my media is missing. All of the CDs I ripped myself are showing up on Droid, but some of the older items I purchased via iTunes aren't available in my media player. Where are the videos? They're on my SD card, so why can't I see them? There's a reason I stuttered when calling DoubleTwist an iTunes "equivalent," folks. To learn more about missing media, read my post over at DroidDog entitled: Droid doesn't do DRM?"