Windows Media Player 10 Mobile for Pocket PC and Smartphone

New version has Portable Media Center features

Pocket PCs and Smartphones just keep getting better each year. In 2004 we've seen the introduction of devices with 4-inch color VGA (480x640) transflective displays, 624 MHz processors, video co-processors, and more. In fact, the newer Windows Mobile devices have become so powerful that their multimedia capabilities are rivaling those of desktop PCs. To take advantage of all this new power, Microsoft has introduced a new version of its Pocket PC and Smartphone media player: Windows Media Player 10 Mobile (MP 10 Mobile).

Most powerful features yet

The MP 10 Mobile brings many of the capabilities of the new Portable Media Center (PMC) device to your Pocket PC and Smartphone. For example, you can use it to view TV shows recorded with a Windows Media Center Edition PC and it's easier to transfer video content to your mobile device. In addition, MP 10 Mobile incorporates the latest Digital Rights Management (DRM) security features, which allow you to listen to rented music and view rented videos on your device.

MP 10 Mobile adds support for album cover art (Fig. 1), DirectShow, VGA playback, custom playlists, and a new user interface (UI), all of which bring a more complete multimedia experience to the Windows Mobile user.

Fig 1: MP 10 Mobile displays album cover art, allows custom playlists, and sports a new user interface.

New look, same feel, better menu

The player's user interface has been updated with a new look. The color of the player's default skin (it only comes with one) is now a blue that more closely matches the desktop PC version of the player. The player's buttons are now larger and easier to access. In addition, all of the buttons on the default skin are located below the screen, including the full-screen button and the shortcut button that takes you to the online Windows Media Guide Web site. The volume slider control found on the last version of the player has been replaced with + and – buttons. These increase or decrease the volume 5% each time they are tapped or selected. Hold either of these down to rapidly move the volume up or down. The mute button is now a tiny speaker icon immediately above the volume buttons. Although some of the buttons have been changed, the overall feel is the same as WMP 9, so users should feel right at home.

The menu structure has been greatly improved. The media content is now separated into music, video, TV, and playlists categories that make it easier to find what you're looking for (Fig. 2). You can also browse sub-menus within each category using the additional meta data associated with each media content file (album and artist names, TV series names, video genre, etc.). This is a vast improvement over the previous version, making it easier and quicker to find content.

Fig 2: MP 10 Mobile has a new menu structure that separates content into music, video, TV, and playlists categories.

Music with art

The biggest visual change is the player's ability to display album cover art (Fig. 1). This is accomplished utilizing the meta data information that's stored in the song's file. It's really nice to see the cover of the album when playing a song—it provides a quick visual cue without having to stop and read the album's name.

The playlists that you use with MP 10 on your desktop PC can be synchronized with your Pocket PC or Smartphone and used directly with the MP 10 Mobile player. On your desktop PC, drag-n-drop the desired playlist to WMP 10's auto sync list. The playlist and all associated music files will automatically be transferred to the Pocket PC or Smartphone. Another new feature is called, “Queue Up.” Tap-and-hold any media content in your library and select “Queue Up” and that content will be added to a temporary play list and played.


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