Just hear those ringtones jingle-ing, ring ting tingle-ing too. Come on, it's lovely weather for another software review...
*ahem* Sorry about that folks...
By now, I am hoping that the BlackBerry community has taken it upon themselves to load their devices with Holiday ringtones. If you haven't, get in to the spirit already! With your ringtones a-loaded, you'll now have to get them organized. You may have "Santa Baby" for your significant other and "Mr. Grinch" for your boss. Whatever you celebrate, whatever ringtones you may choose, we will all need a way to easily manage your tones.
MotionApps dubs their mRing application the "Ultimate ringtone manager for your BlackBerry!" mRing allows you to assign ringtones for various contacts, call types and profiles. You can also manage tones for your SMS messages and emails as well. I've seen mRing operating on Palm and Windows Mobile devices before and I'm glad to see they say that it has been optimized for the BlackBerry. I can't wait to see if this application hits my Naughty or Nice list.
Ringtones ring....are you listening?
Before you download mRing, make sure you have enough room for it- this application comes in at 474.8KB. The download screen says you are downloading version 0.0 but when you open the app and look at the "about" screen, it will state that it's version 4.0.
When I downloaded mRing, I expected for there to be one icon in my application screen, not four! Only two of them can be used; mRing Profiles and the mRing application itself. The other two are called mRing Alternate and mRing Sms Listener. You can click on them until your trackballs flattens, they won't do anything. Actually, if the Sms Listener is clicked enough times, you may get a micro-second glance at a white screen that says "mRing" at the top. At least I can hide the unused icons, but so far, this isn't that Berry friendly if 4 icons try to squeeze into my application screen with 2 being unusable. mRing can be accessed through the mRing Profiles icon, so now I'll hide 3 icons and work with one.
Since mRing has its own profile manager, you will have to set the native profile manager to OFF. Now that I've actually gotten into the application, I can look at the menu screen. I must say that MotionApps presents a smooth, attractive menu that sports a grey and orange colour scheme *cough*palm*cough*. Lets take a look at the three sections;
Personalize ringtones for individual contacts
From within mRing, you can access you native address book and retrieve contacts you wish to manage. Contacts must be brought over one at a time. Once you have selected your chosen ones, you can now assign tones. mRing can assign tones for calls, SMS and email messages. These tones can be stored either on your Berry or on the micro SD card under the Ringtones folder. When you choose a tone, it can be previewed from within the application. Your contacts can also be placed under 3 categories; Regular, VIP or DND (Do Not Disturb). When looking at the mRing address book, there's no way to differentiate contacts by category. mRing uses icons to indicate if a tone has been selected for phone, SMS or email messages.
Customize ringtones for different contact categories
Initially, mRing has three categories to choose from; Known Caller, Unknown Caller and No Caller ID. As with contacts, you can assign ring tones for phone calls, SMS and email messages. Additional categories can be created as well- these are actually contact groups you have created in your native address book. This is a great feature, as it crosses over from Ringtone Manager to Call Manager territory.
Configure ringing profiles
Configuring profiles in mRing is a little different than in the native profile application. In mRing you set the ring volume from mute to 100% (or even escalating) and activate or deactivate the vibrate function. No matter which profile you select, you can also choose to "Except VIP and DND". Once activated, this means that the contacts you have marked as VIP and DND will be the only exceptions to the profile rules. You cannot create new profiles as you can in the native profile application.
Do you hear what I hear?
I hope not. Remember when I said mRing requires me to turn off the native profiles so I can utilize its own? Well, mRing forgot that it needs to work. Incoming calls or messages still follow the native profile setting instead of mRing. This means that since the profiles are off, there's no vibration or tone to alert you. I've also noticed that, since downloading mRing, my Berry's battery life lasts less than a day, even without opening mRing. It has also become sluggish, with the hour glass constantly appearing, despite having plenty of free memory.
He knows if you've been bad or good...
I know who is getting coal this year. Despite have a well designed menu, a big bonus is to have the application actually work. I love the idea behind mRing, and kinks have to be worked out with any application, but at least have it functional before releasing it. Once these issues are addressed, perhaps we could see additional features included. Search through youtube and you will see mRing on a Treo with the ability to create schedules for profiles, and assign images to contacts. If you want to give mRing a whirl, they do offer a free trial. mRing is available from the ShopCrackBerry.com software store for $19.95.