harbor a secret. It is simply that I don't hate all cell
phone ringtones. That's right. I also secretly yearn for
a distinctive ringtone of my own that I too can get a kick
out of (just like all the other people out there who leap
to answer their loudly ringing phones in a public place,
embarrassed about what is clearly a ringtone that is too
loud and too intrusive). But then, several Kickstartnews
readers insisted that I review Ringo, Electric Pocket's
addition to the ringtone software universe. Now I'm hooked.
Sorry people. Would Count Dooku and Mr. Vader please move
over. I've joined the dark side.
is available in Palm OS and Windows Mobile versions.
It's a utility that lets you play MP3 ringtones on your
smartphone. You can use Ringo to set personal tones for
your friends and caller groups based on Address Book
categories. Ringo lets you add new ringtones from the
Ringo store, and also provides access to polyphonic ringtones
sold by other vendors through wireless WAP-push delivery.
There's also a nifty little polyphonic ringtone mixer
built into Ringo. Select from a list of backbeats, choose
a melodic pattern from another list, and an instrument
sound from a third list—adjust the tempo using
a slider control and save the result. It's polyphonic
lo-fi, but you can use the ringtone mixer to create something
unique and distinctive. What's the point? Simple. When
you're in a meeting with your phone volume set at a respectfully
low level, a distinctive ringtone will allow to instantly
identify your ring and kill the call before too many
people become irritated at the interruption. Best of
all, you can also turn any music file on your smartphone
(MP3, WAV or WMA) into a ringtone. The Ringo configuration
dialog also provides a selection for Short Message Service
(SMS) messages. The setting lets you assign a distinctive
ring to notify you when a text message is received.
and configuring Ringo is a breeze. Favoring the technically
disinclined, the process is as simple as launching Ringo
after you HotSync or ActiveSync it to your smartphone.
The default configuration automatically activates Ringo
in the telephone subsystem. Launch Ringo and select one
of the bundled ringtones or choose an audio file already
installed on your device. Ringo's selector reads all
the audio files on your storage card and presents them
to you in a scrollable list. Using the polyphonic ringtone
mixer is also as simple as making selections from drop
lists and saving the combination you like.
there are none really because Ringo works as advertised.
We'd like to see some additional features however. It
would be nice if Ringo could pick up the album or artist
information from music files on the storage card. My
dream feature is a basic audio editor which would let
you grab a short clip from any available music file.
always thought that if I could get my hands on the telephone
ringtone from Kiefer Sutherland's smash hit TV series,
24, I'd use it at full volume. Well now I've got it,
and not that polyphonic piece of junk that's being flogged
either—I've got the MP3 and it's identical to the
telephone in the show. Look for it online—it's
available as a free download. Ringo is a blast—you
can have a lot of fun with it. As always, using one of
these utilities is a blessing in disguise, but who cares?
Assigning distinctive rings to each address book category
allows you to instantly identify junk, business, family,
etc., which is very handy when you have to make a quick
decision about interrupting whatever is happening right
in front of you to take a call. Cell phones may be the
bane of our existence from time to time, but the smartphone
has upped the ante and it's hard to do without one once
you've finally embraced the converged applications of
the best devices. Ringo makes the transition easier,
a bit better organized and a lot more fun. Recommended.