capsule review

DoubleTwist Player

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder doubleTwist Player

DoubleTwist Player for Android is a stand-alone music or video player app, but it can also function in tandem with the DoubleTwist Desktop media sync app for Windows or Mac. Meant to be a more-flexible Android alternative to Apple's popular iTunes software, DoubleTwist falls flat in both features and performance.

To get the most out of DoubleTwist for Android, you must install the DoubleTwist Desktop client on your PC or Mac. (If you use Linux, you can stop right here; DoubleTwist doesn't support Linux, and without a desktop client, the Android app is not worth installing.) I installed the DoubleTwist Desktop client on Windows Vista, and the Android app on the Motorola Droid X.

For this review, I used a flash drive with one music album ripped to standard MP3 format and one album ripped to iTunes format (M4A). Both albums contained artist, album, and genre metadata in each track. I wanted to create playlists of the two albums and sync them from the flash drive onto my Droid X.

Creating playlists is an inconsistent and frustrating experience. The software doesn't provide any tips or guidance, so it's a matter of trial and error. Initially, DoubleTwist Desktop dumps all the music on your device or external drive into one view--you can't just look at one album or folder until you import them into your Library.

You can create playlists by dragging and dropping songs. DoubleTwist Desktop choked when I selected more than four songs at a time, and I had to kill it with the Windows Task Manager. Strike one. DoubleTwist then converted all of the M4A-encoded songs to MP3 and copied them back to my flash drive without asking. Strike two. Then, to make matters worse, the converted MP3 files did not retain the artist, album or genre metadata. Strike three.

I plugged the Droid X into the PC's USB port, dragged the playlists, and dropped them on the Droid X. I ejected the Droid X, unplugged it, and opened the DoubleTwist app. Everything transferred properly, except for the metadata that was lost in the conversion from M4A to MP3. DoubleTwist for Android displayed the album art for the songs that were originally in MP3 format, but could not find album art for the converted songs.

DoubleTwist Desktop has a built-in connection to the Amazon MP3 Store. That's nice, but not enough to compensate for its other flaws. DoubleTwist can also search for and subscribe to podcasts, but not with the Android app--you have to use the Desktop software to sync podcasts to your Android device.

At this point (Android app version 1.0.2, Windows desktop version I cannot recommend DoubleTwist because it is too rough around the edges. Windows Media Player and iTunes are better desktop media sync apps, and if you want to listen to podcasts, there are other Android apps such as Google's Listen and Stitcher Podcast Radio that can do the job without requiring a desktop sync.

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At a Glance
  • DoubleTwist aims to provide an Android replacement for iTunes but strikes out on features and functionality.

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