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Free music players for Windows Mobile - Mobile Minute

MortPlayerThe other day we told you about WinVibe, a new free music player for Windows Mobile devices. I started off thinking I was going to write a roundup of all the other music players for this week's Mobile Minute. But after thinking about it for a while, it occurred to me that there are just so many great free programs available that there's almost no reason to pay for music software.

That said, if you're interested in some advanced features, by all means check out Conduits Pocket Player, 40th Floor's iPlay, Nero Mobile, and PocketMind's Pocket Music. But the following programs will perform most of the same functions, and in some cases, even more.
MortPlayer

MortPlayer (shown above) is an amazing little program, so amazing in fact that it's a little intimidating at first. There are dozens of options available, letting you do everything from search for new songs at startup to set a sleep timer or alarm clock. MortPlayer can handle MP3, WAV, and OGG Vorbis files, as well as support for playlists and streaming audio. When you run MortPlayer for the first time you'll notice two things.
  1. There's an easy to follow setup wizard that only scratches the surface of what you can do with MortPlayer.
  2. The default user interface is one of the ugliest things you've ever seen in your life. Luckily the program's skinnable, and there are a number of skins available for download. On the right, you can see the "mypod" skin.
There's a nifty bookmark function, which is great if you listen to audiobooks or podcasts. There's also a 10 band equalizer and sound effects including reverb, echo, chorus and bass boost.

One particularly nice feature is the microdrive mode, which loads songs from a storage drive into RAM before playing to cut down on the amount of time your hard drive is spinning, reducing energy consumption. If you're looking for the program that will help you get the most life out of your battery, check out Werner Ruotsalainen's article comparing the CPU usage of a number of media players.

GSPlayerGSPlayer

Green Software's GSPlayer is another MP3/OGG Vorbis Player, with support for HTTP and SHOUTcast streaming playback. The program features a very simple interface, with support for skins.

Like MortPlayer, GSPlayer has reverb, echo, and bass boost effects. There's also a 10 band equalizer, but it only works with MP3 files. The on-screen buttons are pretty small, but as with most of these music players, you can map functions to your hardware buttons.

The source code is available, and there's also a Midi plugin, and GSPlayer versions for Windows and Windows CE Handheld PC.

WinVibeWinVibe

WinVibe is a newcomer, but it's already a quite powerful alternative Windows Media Player. It supports MP3, OGG Vorbis, WMA, ASF, and WAV playback, as well as HTTP and SHOUTcast streaming audio. There aren't many other free players out there that support WMA and ASF files, so if you've already converted much of your music collection to a Microsoft format for playing in Windows Media Player, WinVibe might be a handy program.

Its' got all the standard sound effects, including bass boost, chorus, reverb, echo and surround sound. WinVibe also has working volume meters and supports QVGA visualizations. If you have a VGA device, the volume meters will work, but you're out of luck on the visualizations.

TCPMPTCPMP

Calling TCPMP a music player is like calling a Swiss Army Knife a kitchen utensil. I'm not sure I've ever met a video file that couldn't be opened with TCPMP. For a while, it even supported AAC files, although later versions of the program were released without that function.

The team behind TCPMP has moved on to create a commercial version known as CorePlayer, but the truth is, right now there's very little you can do with CorePlayer that you can't do with TCPMP. I expect that will change as CorePlayer continues to license technology to handle alternative formats, as it has already done with H.264.

Anyway, as a music player, TCPMP's got the usual goodies, including a playlist manager, a 10 band equalizer, support for streaming audio, and button mapping. There's even a volume normalization function. As for audio and video file support, the list is almost too long to write, but let's just say TCPMP can handle WAV, WMA, MP3, and OGG Vorbis files as well as a bunch of others.

WinamPAQWinamPAQ

WinamPAQ is probably the simplest player in the list. It's only real trick is that it looks just like Winamp. And you can skin GS Player to look pretty much the same.

WinamPAQ is skinnable, using Winamp 2.0 skins, and it does pretty much what you'd expect, playing MP3 files, letting you play, shuffle, and repeat songs. The 10 band EQ works as well. I don't think there's support for WM 5.0. And according to Werner Ruotsalainen, it's something of a resource hog.

PlaylistMgr

This last program isn't technically a music player, but it's a free program that could make your media management a lot simpler. Some of the programs, such as GSPlayer and TCPMP include great built-in playlist managers. Others are a bit trickier to use if you like to create custom playlists.

PlaylistMgr is a small utility that lets you create playlists and save them as PLS, M3U, or ASX files.

Conclusion

So which program should you go with? Well, that's the beauty of freeware. You can download them all and try them out for as long as you like before deciding. If you need a simple Winamp-like program, GSPlayer might be your best option. If you listen to a lot of audiobooks, MortPlayer might serve your needs best. And if you have a lot of WMA files, you might want to try WinVibe or TCPMP. Let us know what music program, if any, you use in the comments. Are there any major programs we missed?


Tags: freeware, gsplayer, mobileminute, mortplayer, mp3 player, Mp3Player, music player, MusicPlayer, playlistmgr, winampaq, winvibe

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