Ringo for Palm OS and Pocket PC

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, December 2005
Published by: Electric Pocket
Requires: Palm OS 5 or newer smartphone including Treo 600/650/680/700/750, MP3 audio files or polyphonic ringtones (Palm and Pocket PC devices); Pocket PC and Windows Mobile smartphones, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2003 or Windows Mobile 5.0 Phone Edition for ringtones, Windows Media Player 10 for MP3, WAV and WMA files
MSRP: US$19.95 (Palm OS), $14.95 (Windows Mobile)

I 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.


Ringo 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.

Installing 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.

Cons: Well 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.

Pros: I 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.





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