Ever since I started using the iTunes/iPod combination, I have been on a quest to find a way to sync my Windows Mobile device with my iTunes music collection. My last post on the subject here allowed me to sync unprotected AAC music files to a Storage Card but left out the playlists (I had to recreate them with WMP mobile). With my T-Mobile Wing it is not practical to remove the Storage Card frequently because of the size of Micro SD card and the flimsy slot cover. You can use an application like Softick's Card Export which maps a drive to your Storage Card, however the iTunes Agent has issues with either Vista or iTunes 7.3.x and no longer make it a viable solution. After some research, I believe I have found a better solution.
Here are the assumptions for this solution, although you should be able to modify it to meet your needs, it may not be as seamless:
- Windows Mobile 6 easily syncs with Windows Media Player (WMP) 11. WMP 11 will recognize the Windows Mobile device as a sync device when it is attached via a USB cable. I have tried using Bluetooth, however WMP does not recognize that the device is connected (must be some DRM issue).
- Windows Vista Ultimate. Window Media Player shipped with Ultimate plays unprotected AAC content.
- An iTunes music library with unprotected content (.m4a files). When I purchase iTunes content, I burn a backup copy to a CD-RW and import it back into iTunes DRM free (as per Steve Jobs comments), then delete the protected content. If you do this every time you make a purchase, you will have a DRM free music library.
Since iTunes playlists are not compatible with WMP playlists, you need a conversion utility. Eric Daugherty has come to the rescue with his iTunes Export utilities. I used the GUI version.
You must first create a synchronization partnership between the Windows Mobile device and WMP 11 using a USB connection. This involves creating a Windows Mobile Device center partnership, if you have not already done so. If you use Bluetooth as I do, there is no need to create a new partnership. WMP 11 presents you with two devices; the Windows Mobile Device RAM storage is shown as the partnership name (in my case SCS Wing) and the Storage Card as Storage Card. I only use the Storage Card. In order to successfully sync the convert check box must not be checked under sync/Storage Card/Advanced Options Quality tab.
Now you are setup to export and sync the music content.
- Export the playlist you want to sync from iTunes. This is accomplished by highlighting the playlist you want to export, then right clicking to display the menu and selecting Export Song List.
- Run iTunesExportUI.exe (there is no install required).
- Select the playlist xml file your just exported in iTunes. Next.
- The playlist you selected will be displayed. Next
- Select the directory where you want the new playlist copied to, check "Include Unprotected AAC Files", select "WPL" from the Playlist Type drop down. Finish.
WMP syncing AAC content to my T-Mobile Wing. Among others; the two benefits that stand out are that the WMP sync is smart enough not to copy songs already on your device and the playlist is synced.
Now I can listen to my iTunes collection using my Motorola HT820 Bluetooth headphones and T-Mobile Wing, try doing that with an iPhone...OK no cover flow or album art, but when I listen the Wing is in my pocket.