I tend to think of myself as an “on the go” type of guy with a sedentary lifestyle…not sure if that makes any sense to you but it does to me. I have some travel for work, coach high school baseball, volunteer with the local Board of Education, and have a 15-month old that we are always taking to the zoo. But as you can see from those activities a lot of my time is spent sitting around….enter Shape Service’s Mobiola xPlayer for the Blackberry Curve 83XX series.
As you can probably guess from the heading I have not yet gotten on the iPod train, for what reason I am not sure besides the fact that I listen to a ton of Satellite radio and don’t download much music. On the other hand there are plenty of times where I am sitting for an extended period of time, and Brick Breaker can only get me so far before my eyes go crossed! What better way to pass this time than by listening to a Podcast or radio stream, perhaps even watching a movie.
Mobiola xPlayer is a multimedia player for all major audio and video formats. Listen to your favorite songs and Live Radio, see the full screen video on the go!
Mobiola xPLayer now supports podcasts! Allows you to listen to actual business, sport, music news on the go!
Mobiola xPlayer supports audio and video full screen playback. It manages play lists, works in background, configures shortcuts and let you enjoy other useful features.
The feel of xPlayer is very fluid and does not have many confusing menus or options to navigate. When you first open the program you are taken directly to the media player screen, which will basically show your previously played files.
One of the best things I have found about the media player is the fact that it displays video all the way across the screen in a letter box/widescreen format, whereas the regular Blackberry media player shows a column view as default but does show a letterbox full screen option. Being completely honest I am a huge fan of the stock media player that comes preloaded on the Blackberry, and xPlayer has done nothing in this department to sway my opinion. xPlayer has a very finicky FF and Rew function where the movie must be paused in order to scroll the time marker forward or backwards. This would not be that much of a problem if not for the fact that it does not allow you to view the video while doing so.
As much as I did not like the video player, I definitely do like the Podcast function. While I am still fairly new to the whole podcast thing, I am finding it very easy to get hooked, not sure if that is because of xPlayer or not…only time will tell I guess. By default xPlayer provides podcast categories of Sports, Business, News & Politics, Health & Science, and Technology. Under these categories they have everything from ESPN to 60 Minutes. One thing that should be added is the ability to search and subscribe to different Podcasts that are available outside of xPlayer. Also not sure if it was my service area but the download time is a bit long, which sometimes is a pain if you want to watch something quick while in a waiting room or something of that nature.
This is the feature I was most excited about, as I said before I listen to a ton of Satellite radio and like the different options for talk radio that are now available on satellite radio and other programs have had a hard time finding the same on mobile apps. I was excited to see that xPlayer had a vast amount of different genres from blues to soundtracks…there was even a channel dedicated to video game soundtracks (don’t laugh at me but that is awesome)! There are even some actual FM stations from various locations in the US, but I couldn’t find anything local. While I was excited about the genre selection, the channel selection was not that abundant as each genre averaged only about 4-5 stations; the Techno/Electro/House had the most stations with 9. Again I had a problem with the stations maintaining a continuous stream, often the channel would stop and then catch up at either a different part of the song or a different song completely…but as stated before I am not sure if this was a software or signal strength issue.
This is one of the coolest features of xPlayer, and while you need to be a site administrator to link your internet radio feed, it is still neat to see they give you the option of adding a station without jumping through some hoops.
Overall xPlayer seems to be a very usable application for those that want to streamline and have all of their media needs/wants in one location; however it doesn’t appear to be something I would use regularly. The MP3 player portion has the same difficulties as the video player with the FF and REW functions which for me is a deal breaker. One thing that would be great on this application would be the ability to reformat movies into MP4 of 3GP format that would be compatible on a BB, but from what I understand Shape Services has another application that tackles this need. Again a great program, but personally I will stick with stand alone applications for ease of use.
What I Like:
Affordable app $19.95 – $14.95
Keeps all your media needs in one place
Ease of use
What Needs Improvement:
Needs a better option to rewind and fast forward
More radio channel options
Integrate a way to re-format movies for use on a BB
Less lag on radio feeds (although this may have been due to signal strength.)
Mobiola xPlayer for Blackberry is available on the Mobiola website for $14.95