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DoubleTwist updates client to include Android Market, is still near-useless

I’ve written about Android needing a client before, so I was a bit happy when I discovered DoubleTwist. It was pretty much what I wanted for my phone: a program I can run on my desktop that allows me to interact with the contents of my Droid. It even allows me to search the Android marketplace, which, up until recently, I couldn’t even do on  Google’s official site!

However, at the time of my first interest, that feature wasn’t available for Windows – I decided to give it a pass until I could actually, you know, use it. Hearing that it had been updated today, however, had me installing faster than a pirate with unlimited bandwidth.

But then I found out how bad it was.

See, I was under the impression that DoubleTwist would actually be useful to me in some way. Here, let me illustrate.

Click to embiggen.

This is an example of a listing on the Android Marketplace within DoubleTwist. As you can see, it deceptively looks useful: it has ratings, comments, a well-laid out listing, hi-res logo, and QR code.

Wait, what? QR code? Why would we need that if we’re downloading apps using the client?

Oh wait.

That’s right. A client with access to the Android Marketplace does not allow you to download apps: DoubleTwist themselves tell you to download a bar code scanner app for that. It doesn’t allow you to bookmark, list, sync, update or share them, either. It doesn’t even let you comment/rate applications within it’s window: the site’s FAQ tells you to go to back to your phone for that, too. In essence, it doesn’t do anything of the things that I would expect a client to do, nor does it make it any easier to use my phone. The only advantage I can think to using this program is because the listings are ad-free and look pretty. That’s it.

Another thing I would consider using a client for would be to view what’s on my phone already – not applications or anything (because DoubleTwist doesn’t do that, either), but pictures and video. DoubleTwist does do this, but there seems to be a big roadblock: I can’t get them off my phone.

While the issues I had with the marketplace integration were answered within the site’s FAQ, for this I might just be a little bit shortsighted: can anyone see in the above screenshot (click to enlarge) where I might be able to transfer my photo off? I mean, the “Play” and “Close” buttons do just that: start a slide show and close the window. The “Flickr” and “Send” buttons upload to Flickr and send media by e-mail, respectively; you can also upload videos to Youtube. The “remove” button deletes the media.

Apparently, a “Save As” button is too much to ask for. Even the Motorola web interface has that.

DoubleTwist’s big selling point is that it allows you to sync music and video folders (along with podcasts) to your phone. However, I don’t really see the point: if I’m going to be in my SD card folder in Windows Explorer to copy pictures I’ve taken over to my hard drive, why not just spend the few extra seconds to transfer a folder of music over?

Ultimately, I simply can’t find a use for DoubleTwist, and can see it becoming obsolete when Froyo comes out for the Droid: I mean, we’ll have a better-featured market, and the ability to stream our music from our computers without the need for any transferring. Hell, we’ll even have a better marketplace!

Kind of makes you wonder what roadblock was in their way towards making something functional. There are numerous methods of syncing files and photos using the cloud (Dropbox, Zumodrive, etc) as well as apps that have made updating/installing a near-automatic process (AppBrain); what stopped DoubleTwist from being successful? If anything, they should have had an easier time, as they have the benefit of a USB connection.

With the announcement of the new browser-client hybrid that comes with Android 2.2, my pipe-dreams of a desktop browser might just be dead. Who knows? Maybe Google will surprise us, as they have before, and give us something better.

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  • TheClassicalGod

    Honestly… The android app has more function than the desktop client. No Random play, no rating, no play count(which they mention being synced between the two), not even the ability of sort by track number when playing albums.

    The idea is totally solid, but the execution is lacking at this point in time. This could be a very good thing if work is continued, but in it’s current state, unfortunately, it’s not too useful. Froyo and the cloud pushing is going to make that even more true unless they can easily add a push option to their market pages(which shouldn’t be hard and they could be waiting for 2.2 to officially be released to do so), but the other playback functions in their desktop client being missing while the android app has them… sounds odd to me.

    Hope they continue working on it though.

  • jeesung

    Have you guys tried Motorola's Media Link software?

    http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/US-EN/Consume

    • http://twitter.com/joshuaadillon Josh Dillon

      Junk.

      • jeesung

        wow. an oldie! i'm lazy and installed it, but never really used it. like Matt, i'd become so used to just copying things in Windoze.

        i love you Bill Gates!!!

        ok, j/k!

        really.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tyson-John/501510109 Tyson John

    I like DT, I use iTunes as my PC player because I have an iPod. What I do is have a playlist in iTunes called Droid and I put the songs I want on the phone in there. It, for me at least, was way easier than making a new file and moving it to the phone.

  • mrmex

    how do you clear the search history on the android market?

  • jess

    You're gonna have the kiddies skimming this site, retaining about 30% of what you write, and ending up with Norton, DoubleTwist, and NemoPlayer!

    • http://www.facebook.com/RoyR80 Roy Rader

      Lmbo! Tru tru

  • bsandy

    DoubleTwist does have a lot of issues and I have stopped using it. My only complaint I have with my Droid and Android is that there is not a PC music management app that syncs well with the Droid. Copying music folders is not really music management, and is functionality available on $10 mp3 players. I agree that the lack of the iphone/itunes like music functionality for android is what may keep Android from dominating.

    • CyberPete

      I use (and purchased) iSyncr from the market. It's the only *easy* method that I found to actually sync iTunes playlists and music on the droid. A very nice app, indeed.

  • maxxor

    Appbrain allows market browsing and sync to phone

  • e3pin0

    I tried DT a while back and completely felt the same way. I've since moved to MediaMonkey. I haven't tried pulling media off my Droid, but it works very well as a client for music, podcasts, etc.

  • False_Paradigm

    Yeah I have something like 6000 songs on my pc. Those were all ripped as WMA lossless, which are to big for Droid to cope with. SO I made itunes mp3 copies of them all for use with my droid, DT of course adds all 12000 songs to the library, leaving me to pick through them in order to add the right ones. Now my WMAs are on one drive and my mp3s are on another and I thought it would be a gimme for DT to make it possible to ignore one drive… They told me to manually edit out 6000 songs lol. Tunesync is the best right now, but I'd love droid to learn to work with my media player the way my old mp3 player did, auto converting lossless down to a more manageable file. Google needs to understand that iPhone like mp3 functionality might be the difference between competing and dominating.

  • slackerjoe

    Has anyone looked into: http://download.pandaapp.com/?app=soft&controll… It's called PC Suite from Pandaapp.

  • http://twitter.com/robcomet1 Rob Haney

    I hate DoubleTwist. I use Winamp to sync music to my DROID. It whips the llamas @$$! :-D

  • kellex

    Android Web Market…FTW.

    • Mrpicolas

      +1 on that

    • http://www.facebook.com/RoyR80 Roy Rader

      I second this notion
      ;-)

  • Ashok

    i tired this out when i wanted something to convert video. didn't have much luck. has anyone else tried it with luck? or have a nice easy way of converting video for the droid? I use handbrake but just wanted something even easier (if it exists).

  • http://jeffcoons.info/ Jeff Coons

    My experiences with DT:
    The music sync doesn't even really work that well. First of all, it doesn't update when you delete/add music files to your computer. You have to delete things manually, and most of the time, they seem to reappear. You can't add anything manually. So if you want to change your library ever, you need to completely delete the program and settings and reinstall it. AND if you do happen to sync with stuff that you've deleted from your computer, it puts dummy files on your phone. The whole thing is just awful.

    All I want is a decent, free way to sync the music that's in my “Music” folder on my computer to my phone. Is that so much to ask?

    (Apparently, yes. Yes it is.)

    • droiddev

      I completely agree – DT is a flaming pile. I had high hopes for it as an iTunes replacement (yes, I said a dreaded “i” word, but I've got a lot of music piled up over the years) and sync with my phone. Wrong. It won't sync properly, will not update the DT library when I make changes in iTunes, and will not let me do anything with my media. The “market integration” is a joke too… Oh well – looking forward to 2.2 as well – hopefully they do media syncing the right way!

    • Doolidg

      Gmote is free and I can stream my music to my phone anywhere… And I dont have to dl the files to my phone and eat up my memory card….or if I chose i can play music on my computer with my phone…

      • http://jeffcoons.info/ Jeff Coons

        I use Gmote, but I don't like to leave my computer on and running all the time. I don't have a desktop computer, so leaving it plugged in more than it needs to be kills the battery. It only took a little over a year to kill 1 MBP battery.

        I like being able to have things on my phone, completely detached from my computer.

        • Doolidg

          ouch ……I got the desktop going so it makes it easy…Just thought I'd throw it out there…

  • dpu328

    Take a breather man. don't let em get to you. LOL thanks for the heads up.

  • Ricky

    Great heads up, I'll make sure to stay away from that and maybe wait until Google get it stuff together.

  • briderx

    “Maybe Google will surprise us, as they have before, and give us something better.” – And what, exactly was that? I only came into the Android scene after the release of 2.0.1.. SO, I haven't seen ANY sort of milestone out of Google.. Speculation, and broken promises aren't surprises.. I'm just sayin'…

    I am just waiting for Google to implement their HTML5 Marketplace WebUI..

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/4EPXEO5USRVZDTHFOF6R5CDDVQ Jonathan

      Are you serious?

      Do you have any idea what Android used to be, compared to all the cool features it has now in 2.1 and 2.2, from Foyo's insane speed boosts, to the awesome 3D gallery? Or installing apps to the sd card?

      Have you seen Google's announcement for free streaming music?

      What promises have they broken…

      • briderx

        Lets see: I haven't seen ANY speed boost in 2.1 from 2.0.1. We can't even talk for Froyo yet (Like I said above.. Speculation/promises). “Awesome 3D Gallery” that was dumbed down in 2.1 for unknown reasons. Apps to SD Card? Where?

        You are taking what they WANT to do, or are going to do in the future and applying that to today. They haven't done much. It's all been talk. I am not saying that 2.2 isn't going to be freaking MIND BLOWING.. BUT remember, we thought 2.1 was going to blow us away.. It was a mere hiccup in the world of technology.

        On top of that, anything I have seen released from Google (updates) so far have all been stuff others have already done.. Live Wallpapers? Free streaming music (Pandora/Slacker)? Apps to SD? All are working great on the rooted side already and have been for months. I don't see anything innovative about it.

        Yes, they DID put Google Earth on 2.1.. Who actually uses it more than a showoff tool? It's completely useless!

        Again, I'm not downplaying the future.. I am a firm believer that “Good things come to those that wait” and I am patiently waiting (not one complaint from me about the delayed 2.1). I just don't see how that statement holds true to anything right now.

        Also, it was kind of a joke to Kellex..

        • sdcoiner76

          The speed boosts that are being talked about are from 2.1 to 2.2 not going from 2.01 to 2.1. Also the speed boosts are fact not speculation.

          Froyo is out for some Android phones, so this is not speculation.

          The 2.1 Gallery had upgrades that added pinch to zoom, ability to access camera and video recorder straight from the gallery and also picasa sync which is an incredible feature. The only thing dumbed down was the resolution (which Google already said will be fixed).

          Apps to SD card are in 2.2. Not speculation, is a fact.

          The free streaming music is not anything like Pandora or Slacker. The music streaming is music from your own computer. And yes some other apps do that already but they are paid for apps.

          I do agree though there have not been any milestone achievements from Google between 2.01 and 2.1 but did you expect there to be. Honestly, there was 1 month between 2.01 and 2.1 releases. Did you expect something magical.

          Between Android 0.7 and Android 2.1 there have been HUGE advances in the OS and have given many surprises to it's users.

          • briderx

            I totally understand the speed boost comment. I was trying to be funny. I understand it was supposed to be considered a minor update that got blown up by the community wanting more and more. I guess I have led myself astray from the main point. Which you hit on sdcoiner76. There hasn't been any surprises from Google in quite some time.

            I hadn't actually followed the Android OS before 2.0.1.. SO, I can't say yes/no on anything before that, which may be why some are opposed to my comments…

            Google has pretty much done what they said they would. In my opinion, sometimes a bit lacking. They, like all businesses put pretty ribbons on everything and make it look/sound much more appealing than it really is. Now, PLEASE understand. I absolutely LOVE my phone. I love everything about it (Droid). I watched both days of Google I/O and have read every post on here, as well as other websites that are Android related.

            I am a rooted user so, maybe I am a bit biased about it all. I have been blessed with many of the features that are promised months before they arrive to a standard user. Updates don't seem that special anymore.. Yes, 2.2 will be fuc#ing fantastic.. And I cannot wait.

  • kerrhome

    All I want is something to get my iTunes library out of iTunes so i can use it everywhere I really want it. I take it that this tool won't help me there.

    • necroscopev

      I used to use this instead of itunes: http://www.redchairsoftware.com/anapod/ it will can manage your music library on your ipod instead of itunes and it can copy the music OFF your ipod so you can copy it to wherever you want, ie Droid.

    • Doolidg

      Gmote……its free…

  • Danny

    I have a feeling the actual usefulness/functionality of this application where 'apps' are concerned can be fully appreciated once 2.2 becomes more widespread and the developers become more accustomed to some of the new features it brings.

    I think the change being introduced in 2.2 which will prove paramount to this particular effort is the ability to communicate and pass commands directly from your PC to your Droid.

  • Danny

    I have a feeling the actual usefulness/functionality of this application where 'apps' are concerned can be fully appreciated once 2.2 becomes more widespread and the developers become more accustomed to some of the new features it brings.

    I think the change being introduced in 2.2 which will prove paramount to this particular effort is the ability to communicate and pass commands directly from your PC to your Droid.