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mOcean Music Player for Palm OS

mOcean MP3 music player for Palm and TreomOcean is a new MP3 digital audio player for the Palm OS from MotionApps, and is optimized for the Treo 650, Palm TX and LifeDrive. It features a touch sensitive scrolling user interface and controls much like the popular Apple iPod. The program also does iTunes synchronization on Windows desktops.

mOcean can be controlled with a on-screen Mini scroll wheel as well as the 5-way navigator. You can create, save and load playlists from your personal music collection stored on an SD memory card. It has 22 preset equalizer settings and you can search for songs by typing in a few letters of the title. It also has background music support and headphone integration that will pause the music when the stereo headphones are disconnected or when the phone rings.

mOcean is available now with a free trial. It costs $19.95 USD to register.

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Cool new software

rmhurdman @ 4/28/2006 2:03:46 PM # Q
It makes me hope that Palm will soon come out with cool new hardware to use it on. So few options...

RE: Cool new software
Scott R @ 4/29/2006 9:45:56 AM # Q
This is the sort of thing I've thought about wanting to develop for a while: a clean, simple interface for navigating around an MP3 collection. Unfortunately, I don't have the low-level multimedia coding skill to do it and, unlike with the WM OS, there's no built in API's for someone like me to make use of.

Anyways, I tried this out and I like it, but it's not perfect. My biggest problem is that one song had some horrible distortion going on, so I'm not sure what was going on there. Hopefully that's a bug fix coming soon.

I think the virtual wheel was implemented very well, but in the end, I'm not sure that it's needed on the Treo. This is the only navigation interface on an iPod, but the Treo already has a 5-way D-pad, volume controls, full QWERTY keyboard, and other buttons. One thing that's cool about the wheel is that you can scroll through lists fast or slow. But since you mainly need to scroll fast when perusing a list of songs, I think the Treo's keyboard works even better for jumping quickly down a list. So, I wouldn't mind seeing a display option with the wheel gone.

I'd also like to see the D-Pad's center button be used for Play/Pause. You can already select a list item by pressing right on the D-Pad.

My point is that these guys obviously have an appreciation for good MP3 UI, but rather than spend so much time trying to make it look, work, and feel exactly like an iPod (and falling a bit short), I'd like to see them evolve the UI further to take advantage of what the Treo uniquely offers and ending up with a UI that's *better* than the iPod's.

So, in addition to what I mentioned above, I'd like to see them change the menu button behavior so that it either acts like a menu button (mainly with menu options for controlling preferences) or maybe jumps you right to a preference screen.

Also, lose the iPod font or make it configurable. There are some other great anti-aliased fonts that would be even better. Maybe let you change the background/text colors as well. Again, I think they're selling themselves short by copying *everything* about the iPod UI.

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Wonder what Uncle Stev will think...?

SoS @ 4/29/2006 12:48:36 PM # Q
I reckon Apple may have something to say about this.....

I'm sure things were easier before they became more simple

Tungsten T, Lexar 256Mb, Mac G4Ti OSX

RE: Wonder what Uncle Stev will think...?
ChiA @ 4/29/2006 1:55:57 PM # Q
especially when they rub salt into the wound by syncing only with the Windows iTunes and NOT the Mac iTunes.

They're almost begging for Apple's lawyers to come knocking on their door!

RE: Wonder what Uncle Stev will think...?
Wollombi @ 4/30/2006 3:09:43 AM # Q
I doubt it. The fact that it is software that runs on totally different hardware, whose primary purpose is not music/mp3 gives them plenty of legal space. If Apple chose to do anything, they might try to intimidate, but they wouldn't have the kind of strong case lawyers like to have going into the court room. And it's not like they are circumventing AAC's DRM or anything, like when Apple went after RealNetworks.

_________________
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RE: Wonder what Uncle Stev will think...?
bsquare @ 5/1/2006 8:14:43 AM # Q
>>I doubt it. The fact that it is software that runs on totally different hardware,

You're kidding, right? This is exactly the sort of thing Apple goes after. They have a history of attacking shareware apps with a UI that so much as resemble MacOS/iPod. They are constantly going after people who distribute Skins for apps like Winamp, WindowBlinds, DesktopX, WinXP skins, etc. that look like MacOSX widgets.
Not to mention, Apple probably has a "patent" on the whole scroll wheel on a touch screen idea (see recently hopeful mock-ups of what a full screen Video iPod will look like)


RE: Wonder what Uncle Stev will think...?
ackmondual @ 5/3/2006 5:02:15 PM # Q
Apple didn't fare too good when M$ ripped off Mac OS from them.

I'm no lawyer, but AFAIK, if it ain't an EXACT replica in terms of look, feel, and function (wheel only goes through playlists in a different manner; center on the wheel brings up menus for navigation; etc.), then Motion should be fine.

This is certainly true with games. As long as the artwork is the dev's own perhaps different themes are present, then it's not a copyright infringement. Else, we wouldn't have a gazillion tetris and solitaire clones for pOS

I'm surprised someone hasn't thought up of a touch screen scroll wheel or its equivalent before. Now it's finally here. Mind you I find RealPlayer still sufficient, so I'm gonna stick with that and not shell out $19.95 for the scroll wheel.

"Do you know the difference between an error and a mistake? Anyone can make an error, but that error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it."
-Grand Admiral Thrawn

the secret to enjoying your job is to have a hobby that's even worse

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Interesting but has problems

Navamske @ 4/29/2006 2:54:11 PM # Q
One of the problems I had with mOcean is that when I switched to another application while music was playing, the music became distorted and began to stutter more noticeably than PocketTunes does. When I attempted to switch back to mOcean to turn the music off, my Palm TX crashed. Well, that stopped the music all right, but it wasn't exactly the fix I was looking for. It did this several times.

Also, under the Help menu item is an option for FAQ. Selecting this item invoked Blazer and a notification that WiFi was currently off (duh) and a query as to whether I wanted to turn it on. Apparently the FAQ being referred to is on the Web. What's with the assumption that everyone has a constant WiFi connection?

I uninstalled the player.

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At Last...Someone gets the UI right

Foo Fighter @ 4/29/2006 5:24:09 PM # Q
I wondered how long it would take the clueless Palm/Windows Mobile software developer community to figure out that desktop jukebox UI is the wrong metaphor for mobile devices when designing media apps. The iPod interface is the correct formula; a menu driven system, with very few graphical aspects. This allows the users to instantly drill down into their playlists instead of the goofy hamfisted approach of Windows Media Player and PocketTunes, both of which copy their desktop cousins.

I haven't yet tried this software myself, but the screenshots depict a much more well thought out UI design, centered around a portable audio player interface. Can't wait to test this out.

-------------------------------
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RE: At Last...Someone gets the UI right
freakout @ 4/30/2006 3:00:07 AM # Q
Depending on the skin you use, PocketTunes can become a whole lot more usable - I use one of GX5's (Freeform), and it's lovely. I didn't find mOcean to be more useable - maybe 'cause I'm just used to pTunes now - but it is missing a few features, like the pop-up console pTunes uses during background playback.

One thing that pTunes does sorely need is mOcean's "type a few letters to pick a song". The Treo has a keyboard and it's great to see an mp3 app finally taking advantage of it - it's so much quicker than scrolling through a loooong playlist.

In a nutshell: good, but as Scott R said, they shouldn't be so hung up on copying the iPod. I could see this surpassing pTunes if future versions are as innovative.

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Any way to pause

mkbajwa @ 4/30/2006 10:41:20 AM # Q
Very nice looking but functionally poor. If you pause and leave an MP3 track, when you return to it you have to start from the beginning. This is very annoying and very similar to built-in Real Player and unlike Pocket Tunes or TCPMP. Not going to sell just for the looks.

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Pitch Control

princehifi @ 5/2/2006 9:40:45 AM # Q
I have been waiting for a Palm MP3 app that implements pitch control (for dj use). The ARM processor should be able to handle the required DSP. Two Tungsten PDAs would be the perfect portable dj platform (music carried on SD cards). Pocket Tunes replied to my inquiry that it was on their feature request list but not high enough to be forthcoming anytime soon.

RE: Pitch Control
princehifi @ 5/2/2006 1:25:20 PM # Q
Just checked out TCPMP and it has speed control of audio (and video) playback but it is too coarse for dj use: needs to be fine like +/-8% not +/-100%. Also TCPMP does not have D-Pad control over the Speed Control. They have an update coming though.

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Not bad!

George256 @ 5/2/2006 4:36:14 PM # Q
So far I like this. I agree with the earlier posters who say the interface could be improved a bit. (For example, they should make better use the the 5-way in Classic mode, to allow pause/play) But this has enough going for it that I think I will switch to it, from ptunes:

- good sound quality: to my ear, the sound quality is better than ptunes, on par with aeroplayer.

- sync playlists with itunes: this works well, but it seems to use only ID3 V1 tags and itunes defaults to V2... no biggie, just convert the tags in the Treo playlists in itunes to V1 and it works fine.

If they tweak the use of the 5-way a bit, and recognize V2 tags, this will be a great player.

But overall, the way it allows one-handed use, and being able to sync (especially syncing smartlists) with itunes, make this real convenient.

G

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