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Review: FlipSide BlackBerry Music Player

FlipSide BlackBerry Music Player
By Ryan Blundell on 5 Feb 2008 01:03 am EST
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Music makes the world go ‘round. BlackBerry brings the world closer to you. Why not bring the two together? The folks at Electric Pocket did, and they did it with style. FlipSide Music player will forever change the way you access your music on your BlackBerry.

Up until recently, I never looked at my BB as an MP3 player. True, I spent my fair share of time watching videos and downloading various odd ringtones. The BlackBerry’s media centre was easy to use, but wasn’t smooth enough in my mind to use while waiting for the ferry, during my daily commute to work.

FlipSide opened my eyes, as I recently downloaded the newest version available. It plays music in Mp3, M4A, AAC and WMA formats, with the smoothest controls I’ve seen. It reminded me of the Cover Flow feel brought to you by Apple. Hands down, I believe that this is an amazing piece of software. Just for fun, let’s get into it shall we?

I said hey, what’s going on?

FlipSide has obviously been designed for what some people call “media friendly” BlackBerrys. Meaning that anyone who is currently running anything other that the 81XX, 83XX or 88XX series is unfortunately out of luck, as it plays music right from your media card.

You can’t help but love the layout of this software.  Your music is easily filed and found, depending on how you transfer the files. For this review, I quickly added four albums to my BlackBerry. I’m probably one of the few remaining people who actually buy CDs. If I like an artist or band, I will support them. You may recognize a great Canadian band in the pictures. Ladies and Gentlemen, give it up for the Barenaked Ladies!!

Album Cover
Scroll through album covers, not just music

After transferring your music to your BlackBerry, open up FlipSide. The albums are listed with the respective album covers. What? No album cover? That’s no problem for FlipSide. Open the menu and select the option to find cover art. FlipSide will search for and download the proper album cover! The sideways scroll is very smooth and quick, this is especially good when you have a few dozen albums or individual songs listed. And like all great BlackBerry apps, there is integration with BlackBerry shortcuts. You can hit a letter on the keyboard to skip to artists beginning with that letter. Sweet!

Options
FlipSide offers numerous options

If you want to know more about who you are listening to FlipSide has included a unique option. Open the menu and select FlipSide Extras. Bam! Instant bio on the band!!

Artist Bio
When you want to more, FlipSide finds what you need

I wanna rock and roll all night…

Once you have the album you want to listen to right in front of you, click on the trackball and open up a vertical list of the tracks or press the space bar to play right from the beginning. Press the spacebar again to pause the song or press and hold it to skip to the next song.  To fast forward or rewind within a song, hold down the Alt key and scroll either left/right on your trackball. FlipSide also offers a shuffle all option to mix it up a bit for you.

Track Listing
Track Listing

While you are listening to a track, you can still navigate through the other albums and select another song if you wish or even add it or other songs to your playlist.

Playlist
You be the DJ. Create your own playlist.

I would have loved to see the option of being able to create multiple playlists. Also, further integration with the BlackBerry would be great - right now the volume up/down controls only work while FlipSide is open (not in the background). When another update comes about, these minor issues will be addressed.

Speaking of updates... The latest has added an interesting new feature; FlipSide offers Last.fm auto-scrobbling support. In a nutshell, the name of the song you are listening to is sent to Last.fm where it’s added to your listeners profile. Now imagine enabling this feature  and being able to share your recently played music with your family and friends through various websites (MySpace), blogs or in your forum signature (like say on CrackBerry.com).

An untested question... I read in one comment that the owner was unable to use his Stereo Bluetooth headset controls (like the ones found on the Motorola S9s) with FlipSide. As in the play/pause/skip/volume controls on the headset didn't interface with FlipSide as they would with the default BlackBerry Music Player. I'm waiting on confirmation on this from Electric Pocket (if you know the definite answer please comment below), but let this be on your radar if you're looking to buy. Again, if this is the case I'm sure it will be addressed in a future update. And like most software purchased from the ShopCrackBerry.com store, updates come for free once purchased.

[ Editor Update: The Above has been confirmed - Stereo Bluetooth Headset controls will not work with the FlipSide Music Player just yet. It will likely come in a future update. If you purchase now from the store, you should be able to get future version 1.x updates for free ] 

Famous Last Words

FlipSide is a must have for any BlackBerry user (media Berrys that is). You won’t look at your music the same way again. True some of the options mentioned are already utilized by some Windows Mobile MP3 players, but this software brings BlackBerry up to the head boppin’, foot tappin’ front line.

FlipSide is available at the CrackBerry Store for only $19.95. You can also try the free trial, but in my opinion this is definitely one to pick up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an Air Guitar to play…

PROs

  • access to album art and artist bios
  • quick and fluid navigation
  • ability to create a playlist
  • simple controls

CONs

  • cannot currently create more than one playlist
  • volume controls only work while FlipSide is open

Download

10 comments

soonercurve

Thank you so much for turning me on to FlipSide. This is a great looking app, much better than the BlackBerry music player. The cover flow-esque feature (lets call it "swooshing through the album covers") sealed it for me. I too love the keyboard shortcuts and after reading your review I went over to their official site and saw that you can actually fast forward and rewind in a song by holding either Alt of Shift and rolling the track ball left or right. Tried it and it works great. Actually fast forwards instead of skipping ahead and reloading the song. Sweet. Thanks again, this is a great site.

Edit: The ONLY downside I can see is that you can't adjust the volume if you're not in the app. No big deal and likely to be addressed in an update.

Kevin Michaluk

I think the original version of FlipSide lacked the ability to fast forward/rewind within a song. I had v1.01 on my phone and just tried and didn't work.

Just upgraded to the latest version (v1.07) and can now fast forward/rewind. Sweet. I'll make some editor's revisions to the review to reflect this.

madberrygrl

Will Flip Side work with Itunes music as well? I know some players don't play well once music is transferred from Itunes.

mr_t

great review and great piece of software....however.....one bugbear i have is thatyou have to download album art for each individual album. would prefer if you could download all album art for all the albums you have on you blackberry....would def. save time

wpwoodjr#AC

I'm the author of the comment that you can't control Flipside from Stereo Bluetooth headsets. This has been confirmed on the Flipside Forum as a "wish list" item for Flipside. Other than that I love this app - being able to see the album covers is just so much better than scanning through a textual list of albums and/or artists.

Now I'm also hoping for streaming internet radio support! :-)

Also, I agree with the previous poster that you should be able to download all album art with one command.

haemish

Hi.

FlipSide does work with A2DP headsets, although there is no AVRCP support yet. You might want to try rebooting your BlackBerry if you are having problems.

I use a pair of Motorola S9s with my BlackBerry Curve 8310.

Haemish

luc-mobile

I try to like this program, but it won't let me!

First, I tried it some time ago and found no advantage in relation to the stock Blackberry player. Except the Apple-esque interface, if that is important to you. Disadvantages abound.

I decided to give it a second chance today. Before installing it, I disabled access to my e-mail and PIM data, like I always do with everything that I install. When I launch FlipSide, it tells me this:

"Please use the BlackBerry options application to allow PIM permission for FlipSide."

I hit "OK" and the application is gone. It won't run!

Excuse me. Why does a music player need access to my PIM data to run at all? If part of the functionality were disabled, like picking a contact from my address book if I want to e-mail some album recommendation or whatever, I would understand. But the program refuses to run at all?

FISHY!

BossLuca

its a great mp3 player, however if you download a hip hop mixtape, which i am quite fond of doing. The serch engine dosent always return the correct cover.

It would be nice if there was an add a cover feature.
but other than that great app.

cram187

this is great
but it would be better if there were an option to move songs into albums
because alot of my music isnt in the right album or in different versions of that album

Presocratic

After hearing all of the great comments about FlipSide, I downloaded it and wanted to test it via my bluetooth dongle to my car stereo.

I get everything set up (works for the stock player), and everything played on Flip Side comes out of the phone's speaker, not the bluetooth interface. I even tried plugging in directly to the headphone jack, no luck, still plays only out of the phone's speaker.

Is this a limitation of the trial version, or what am I doing wrong?

Thanks!!!!