Rock your BlackBerry with PushLife

By Ryan Blundell on 2 Dec 2009 08:04 am EST
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pushlife

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I...love...music. You’ll always find a list of my personal favourites on my BlackBerry. They may not all be hits, or even well known, but they are “me”. For the longest time, I’ve gone through the BlackBerry Desktop Manager to load up my Berry. I was never really happy with the time and process it took to complete the transfer. I’m not talking about gruelling hours of downloading, but fellow users and abusers know what I am talking about.

PushLife introduced me to another solution; a solution that gave me more power over my media. Not only could I manage my media on my computer, I could also manage it on my BlackBerry. No need for wireless data usage, PushLife allows you to connect via USB. You can sync and update your changes in record time. Beyond being a music player, PushLife brings your media to life with images, lyrics, biographies, Twitter and more. Open up your media files and get ready to experience your media on another level.

About PushLife

PushLife is brought to you by the company of the same name. The application is available for the 88xx series, Curve series, Bold, Tour, Pearl and Pearl Flip. The version I have running is 1.1.15, which requires 335.7KB. Make sure you also install PushLife on your laptop or desktop in order to use this speedy sync solution. Oh and perhaps you should actually make sure you have some music or videos to install on your BlackBerry as well.

PushLife is both a media player and a media manager. Rather than most one- way syncs BlackBerry users have experienced in the past, this two-way sync allows you to manage your media files using iTunes or Windows Media Player. PushLife supports the following music files: ACC, AMR, MIDI, MP3, WAV and WMA. The application also supports AVI, MO, 3GP, MP4, M4V and MPG files for your podcast, tv and movie needs. The desktop software will work with Windows 7, Windows Media Player 12 and iTunes 8 and above.

Before you can start enjoying your media on the new player, you have to sync the device app with the computer app. In order to download media, your BlackBerry must be put into mass storage mode. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to access existing media on my device and SD card. I would have to transfer them from my BlackBerry to my computer and then back again. It’s a bit of a hassle to do, but I thought I would give PushLife a chance. What I did enjoy was the ability to choose what media I wanted to download with ease. I could choose playlists, specific genre, even songs recently downloaded.

pushlife
looks familiar...yet not

And now for the BlackBerry portion of this tour. Once you have your BlackBerry brimming with media, open up the application. Due to more advanced features, the PushLife BlackBerry app takes slightly more time than the native Media Player. The opening menu of PushLife looks somewhat similar to your music player; you’ll see the standard fields which include; Genre, Artist and Album. Above the fields, you will find two buttons you can easily switch between; Show All and On Device. These options give you slightly different views. For example- you can see specific playlist or genres. When navigating through the different fields, you can narrow your search by using the “Find” option found at the top of the screen. Just like the native media player, you simply type in the name of the album, artist or song title (depending on which field you are in). In a nut shell, you’ll find that most media search options are very similar to the native player, only PushLife is much smoother.

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now playing...

The real magic happens in the Now Playing section. This is where you will find the added features of PushLife, which add another layer of entertainment to your music. The majority of the screen will display the song title, artist, song length, song timer and the album cover associated with the track. This of course depends upon the track and if its ID3 tags contain any errors. The bottom portion of the screen houses a wide array of icons, which were easily navigated with my trackball. Your music manipulation buttons include a play/pause button, as well as previous/next track buttons. Unlike the media player, the track buttons let you scroll forwards and backwards through your songs, without pausing or switching the current song. This is smart scrolling indeed! When you pause the track, a progress bar briefly appears which allows you to move to any point in the song. Other options include:

Rating: Marked by a star icon, this option allows you to rate the song currently playing out of 5 stars. This is done by scrolling left or right, changing white stars to yellow. This option also allows you to see the play count of the current track.

Lyrics: Because you know how much you want to belt out the song, you might as well have the correct lyrics. This section is just text, where you simply scroll up and down to read the lyrics (and hopefully sing along as well). Just make sure you don’t accidently serenade your boss at work.

Biography: Want to learn more about who you are listening to? Want to discover their humble beginnings? Depending on the artist/band, you can scroll through a lengthy text of their history.

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read through a biography

Photos: Here, you can side scroll through images of the current artist from various origins. This option is a great idea. but could go further. The images tend to be small with no option to download or zoom while in PushLife. These images are stored on your media card and can be viewed in the photo album. On the plus side, the application will search the web for the latest images.

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View up to date photos

Twitter: Ah yes- PushLife combining your musical life with your social life. From within the application, you can send off a tweet telling everyone what you are listening to. You have to log in every time you want to do this. While “Listening to *song name* “is entered in for you, the artist’s name is not. When your followers see your tweet, they can purchase it from iTunes or listen to it online.

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Time to Tweet!

There are many changes you can make to your media, such; managing playlists, renaming albums, artist or genres and editing song info. You can even queue up new music; select other for removal all from your phone. Once you sync your BlackBerry to your desktop, your changes will be synced as well. It’s a fantastic way to manage you media, with as little effort as possible.

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Various Options to manage your media with

Conclusion

PushLife definitely brings life to your media. It also gives you more control over how you manage them. Imagine making changes to playlists and media files on the go and sync them with your computer when you get home. Some features could be expanded upon, namely the photos section. I wish the stored images would be more organized; they made a bit of a mess of my photos. The UI was very smooth and easy to master. PushLife can be currently purchased from Handmark and Sprint for $9.99.

Pros

  • Powerful two-way sync
  • View photos, album covers, lyrics and biographies
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Photo section can be expanded and cleaned up
  • If the ID3 tags are incorrect, track info may not display

More Info

16 comments

devGOD

"No need for wireless data usage, PushLife allows you to connect via USB." in other words we couldn't figure out how to sync via wifi so we think USB is better. If you have a BB plan and you plan on using an app like this, would not already have an unlimited package already...? Also consider there are BB's that are wifi enabled. The down falls of BB media sync and PushLife is "wifi". Connecting via USB I just drag and drop directly to my music folder via mass storage. No app need, BB music player works just fine for me no need for another player. just my thoughts.

donald.aleshire

It seems like Ryan B likes this software a lot but for $9.99 I am not really sold on it. Is there any music app that people would recommend of the standard one? I have 7digital, but I dont think I am going to use it as my main source, any ideas?!?

netposer#CB

What the heck is wrong with developers on the Blackberry platform? $10 for a USB syncing media app?

Well my Bold has unlimited data and WiFi. Why should I have to plug it in like my stupid iPod Touch that has WiFi too.

So I guess this app gets a fail along with Steve Jobs and iTunes requirement of a USB cable.

Maybe Google could develop an app that forever eliminates the need for a USB connection for my BB and iPod.

jorGeorge

As much as I hate the time it takes to transfer all my music, I wouldn't pay $10 to get around it...

gaphair

I found that the BB media player would not copy over Apple iTunes DRM protected music. Will this app do that?

nighguy

I downloaded the Wifi File Transfer app from App World and that works great for USB-less file up and downloads

PacketRat

Why doesn't it support the new blackberry's?

netposer#CB

I wonder if these developers EVER read any of the Blackberry blogs and forums? Probably not.

vecharo

I was considering this..right up to the end of your conclusion. ten bucks for no wifi?
no thanks

RaymondR

Thanks for reviewing our application Ryan.

I'm Ray, the founder of PushLife. PushLife is more than a media player, it actually extends your desktop media collection to your BlackBerry so you can manage it anywhere and anytime. With PushLife, you can do almost anything you can do in iTunes or Windows Media Player on your PC, from your BlackBerry. And, it all stays perfectly synchronized with your PC media collection just like your BlackBerry does with email. This is not possible with solutions in the market today. I thought I'd also respond to some of the comments so far:

Wireless sync: We found that for the initial sync when users typically transfer 1GB+ of content, USB was much faster for transferring media and did not degrade your battery (which is really the biggest drawback of wireless transfer). After the first sync, we fully agree with the convenience of wireless sync and will be releasing an upgrade soon with a Wi-Fi sync feature - stay tuned for a release date. All users of the current version of the application will get this upgrade for free.

Price Point: Many of our customers have told us that getting PushLife for a one-time $10 fee is better than a monthly subscription of $2 or $3. We are constantly assessing our pricing models and your feedback provides valuable insights, so thanks. I also wanted to mention that we have a limited beta program you can register for at www.pushlife.com/beta - if approved, you get free access to some of our newest builds in exchange for reporting bugs and your feedback.

DRM Music: Unfortunately, non-Apple products (including PushLife) still cannot play music with DRM, but for a fee, Apple allows you to convert your DRM music to non-DRM, see the Pushlife FAQ for details.

Additionally, the improvements in upcoming releases will address some of Ryan's feedback as well. The photos section is cleaned up and now stays isolated from your personal photos. Also, a device media scan feature will be introduced that can recognize media that is already loaded onto your device. Improvements and updates to our application are always free.

spun2u

Shame it doesn't work on the Storm. Any plans to support the Storm & Storm2 ?

feanor

not working on 9700??

feanor

downloaded the 8900 version and its working on the 9700
awesome program!

Xader

Well, I ended up deleting it. Here's why:

1. Poor or no track-count. The player did not track what songs it had played, therefore causing a frequent repeats of some songs, without touching many others.

2. Poor interface. When playing a song, for example, the track info would cover half of the album art, but still be too small to read from a few feet away. Also, in a menu, letter keys don't jump to the corresponding option (i.e. "C" to jump to "Close", etc.)

3. Poor Blackberry integration. Unlike the BB media player, there does not seem to be a one-button pause. the mute button does just that. Mute. Which is useless in a media player. Why continue the song, when you can pause it? Also, no auto-resume after calls or alerts.

4. Lacks Bluetooth A/V Controls. I use my Berry in my car to stream music to my stereo. Blackberry media player pauses when I hit "pause" on my stereo, ditto for skip, back, etc. Much to my chagrin, Pushlife does not. As it is illegal in my state to use any phone features by hand while driving, this feature is mandatory.

5. Useless (to me) features. I use a media player to do one thing. Play media. I do not need the life story of the band, or the lyrics.
I also do not tweet, nor care for Twitter in any way. So this feature held no appeal for me.
I also am not compelled to pay a couple bucks just to change the wallpaper on the welcome screen of my media player.

6. Bugs? The only big one I noticed was that occasionally, the player would just stop between songs, without any obvious reason.

At this point, I see absolutely no advantages to this program over the stock Blackberry media player, and many points to the contrary.