How to Sync Music to Your Pre in a Post-iTunes World 72
Since Apple has decided to take their iTunes ball and go home, Palm Pre owners who had come to depend on the software as their synchronization solution have found themselves out in the cold. Do not distress, for there are many options available for you to continue delightful synchronization of your music. Several of these options even come with more options than iTunes itself, and if there’s anything we like here, it’s options.
Our list is by no means comprehensive, but it is broad and touches upon the various options available for iTunes synchronization, as well as ways for non-iTunes users to get their music easily onto the Pre. If there’s something else that you use, or a sync solution that you need, sound off in the comments!
Plug the Pre into your computer and select USB Drive. Yeah, it’s a bit of a hassle to move from automagic iTunes sync to manually dragging and dropping songs onto you Pre. But it does have some advantages, namely that it is OS and music player agnostic. On the other hand, there’s no playlist support.
Use iTunes 8.2 [Mac and PC]
Yeah, don’t upgrade to 8.2.1. That’s a solution that will work and work exactly as advertised (until we reach the point where an iTunes upgrade is more or less mandatory). “But I already updated!” you say? Have no fear, for iTunes 8.2 is still available, at least for Windows users.
doubleTwist [Mac and PC]
If you feel like sticking with iTunes and don’t want to deal with the hassle of not updating, then doubleTwist media sync is for you. As the iTunes library is stored as a simple XML file that Apple has not [yet] tried to lock down, it’s wide open for third-party developers (Palm, you listening?) to crack open and enable their own sync solutions. With doubleTwist you connect your Pre in USB Drive mode - or most any other USB drive device – and sync your stuff from iTunes without using iTunes. doubleTwist also supports the importing of YouTube videos. Playlist support is somewhat half-baked, though we can blame that on the Pre. While you can select playlists in doubleTwist to sync, the music (and not the list) will be sent to the Pre. On the bonus side, though, is doubleTwist’s double side: it syncs from your Pre to iTunes, so any tracks you purchase off of Amazon MP3 are synced back into your iTunes library. Be sure to check out PreCentral's full profile of doubleTwist.
Connect your Pre via USB Drive mode and Salling Media Sync can handle your iTunes synchronization needs. Even better, they specifically and purposefully released a 1.1 update with Palm Pre support shortly after Apple pulled the plug. Salling Media Sync comes in two flavors: free and paid. The free has all the features of the paid version, it just happens to be excruciatingly slow later on because it copies the entire sync list to the Pre every time, whereas the paid version ($22) syncs only new or changed items. Unlike doubleTwist (on the Mac, anyway), Salling Media Sync also comes with full playlist synchronization support.
You don’t want to install a whole new program on your computer just to get your music to sync, and frankly, we don’t blame you. There’s a half-solution, however: Dazzboard. With support for over 100 devices, including the Palm Pre, Dazzboard lives inside your browser as a mere plug-in that in conjunction with their website allows you to seamlessly transfer media from your computer to your device and visa versa. It even supports pulling videos off of YouTube and photos from Photobucket and Flikr, and even uploading of content to all those and Facebook. As Google engineering VP Vic Gundotra recently said, webapps are the future over native installations.
Got a Mac? Then iTuneMyWalkman is for you, even if you don’t consider your Pre to be a Sony device (it’s not, don’t worry). iTuneMyWalkman has three distinct components, so the installation can be as invasive as you like. You can manage your media from inside the program, or install plug-ins that let you manage it all with iTunes. Since this is a Mac product, it also can integrate nicely with other Mac programs, like iPhoto. Plus, it’s completely free and glorious open source.
If you can mount it as a USB drive (or iPod), you can sync it with MediaMonkey. As it would turn out, the Pre can do that, so sync it too can. Unlike many media players, MediaMonkey scours your entire computer for music and can help you keep it all organized with features like automatic renaming and tagging. While the free version will sync just fine with your Pre, if you pony up $20 for MediaMonkey Gold you get on-the-fly format conversion as well as several handy features for your desktop experience.
The Missing Sync [Mac]
Coming soon for PC, but for now only on the Mac side, is the perennial saver of Mac user skins: The Missing Sync. While not as desperately needed as it was for the Palm OS or Windows Mobile days, The Missing Sync does bring a bevy of local synchronization features to your webOS device, including iTunes synchronization. It even supports the ability to cut ringtones for the Pre from your music library. Oh, and it can sync your contacts, calendar, photos, videos, and files with ease.
Already used by many music lovers anyway, the latest version of Winamp not only lets you import your music and playlists from iTunes, it also features the miraculous ability to sync with iPods - and thus your Pre. You can automatically sync music and playlists and podcasts, or if it suits your fancy you can roll up your sleeves and manually manage your iPod’s media.
There's a sampling of some of the sync solutions out there. Anything we missed?