Windows Media Player Mobile is Better Than You Think

Windows Media Player on Windows Mobile has a really bad rap… some may say even worse than Windows Mobile itself. The truth is, it’s got some features that remain unmatched by any other mobile device platform. If you’re frustrated with Windows Media Player on Windows Mobile it can be a bit intimidating if you’re not familiar with it. Check out my Windows Media Player Tips & Tricks to learn how to easily manage syncing media to your mobile device. Now for some other awesome features in Media Player for Windows Mobile.


Voice Command support. This one is essential. Microsoft Voice Command has been able to control Media Player’s playlist creation using voice recognition since 2003. By using a Bluetooth headset, you can tell Media Player to play certain music without touching the device or taking your eyes off of the road. When this was released in 2006, it was the only way to control your music hands-free. If your passenger asks you what song is playing, you can ask Voice Command and it will tell both of you using text-to-speech.


Recorded TV. Back in 2004 when Windows Media Center was shipping with TV recording capabilities, Windows Mobile 2003 SE also arrived with support for syncing recorded TV shows to your mobile phone. Click here to see how to set it up. Media Center could be programmed to automatically sync your favorite TV shows (with rich auto-playlist creation options) to your Windows Mobile device when it was plugged in. Of course it automatically converts and downsamples the TV shows to a format more appropriate for mobile viewing. All of this happens for free without having to purchase TV shows from an online service.


Library search autocomplete. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to find a song you want to hear by flicking through endless scrolling menus. With Media Player, simply type what you’re looking for and the list will auto-filter.


Don’t like the way Windows Media Player looks on your device? It probably doesn’t match your favorite today screen theme either. No problem! Media Player can load different skins to match your taste. These can be downloaded or created yourself.


Create and save your own playlists. While Media Player syncing will transfer playlists created on your desktop to your Windows Phone, you can also create playlists on the mobile device directly. Windows Media Player also syncs track ratings and allows you to rate each track from 1 to 5 stars. This is very useful if you like to organize your media library based on how much you like specific songs.


Custom hardware button functions. Want to make some media player functions easier to access with keyboard or hardware buttons? No problem, you can easily assign hardware keys (including keyboard letters) to a long list of functions.

Subscription music. Do want a ton of unlimited music to choose from? In 2004, Windows Mobile gained DRM protected content support. Today you can use those features to play an unlimited amount of inexpensive subscription music on your Windows Phone. Click here to learn how to sync Zune Pass music to Windows Mobile.

Streaming Media. Windows Media Player supports streaming Windows Media and Video over UDP, TCP, and HTTP protocols.

UPDATE: Gesture support. In the main media player screen (when you’re playing music or videos), you can swipe the screen from right to left to advance to the next track or from left to right to go back one. This is very useful since you don’t need to search for the next-track button by taking your eyes off the road in the car. All you have to do is swipe the screen.

Of course there are still plenty of features missing from Windows Media Player… like extended codec support, finger-friendly library browsing, and Zune Marketplace/Social integration. What features are you missing from Windows Media Player?

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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for since they first appeared on the market in 2002. Read more about Adam Lein!
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