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doubleTwist: One media manager to rule them all

The free media manager aims to rescue people from the living hell that is getting images, photos and videos onto their pile of gadgets

Flora Graham
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doubleTwist doesn't just aim to be an iTunes killer -- it's a serial murderer. It hopes to snuff out Nokia Music Manager, Sony Ericsson Media Manager, Motorola Phone Tools, and all the other proprietary media-syncing tools that clutter up the hard drives of gadget lovers.

Our hatred of iTunes burns with the heat of 1,000 suns, and some mobile-phone manufacturers' proprietary solutions are even worse. Many handsets will talk to other media managers, like the fantastic open-source Songbird, but the iPhone and iPod touch are so standoffish and difficult to sync that they've been left out in the cold.

doubleTwist supports the iPhone and iPod touch, however, as well as BlackBerries, Android phones, Sony Ericsson Walkman and Cyber-shot phones, Windows Mobile phones, Sony PlayStation Portables and Amazon Kindles. Those behind doubleTwist also claim it supports most digital cameras and flash-based camcorders.

There's a beta version for Mac, which has been out for around a month, and now there's a PC beta version too. They differ slightly on features: the Mac version supports drag-and-drop to and from your devices, while, on the PC, we had to tick what we wanted to sync, such as all photos or specific folders. It's worth noting that the Mac version lacks iPhone support, too.

The user interface is very iTunes-like, and, as befits a beta, there's plenty of room to increase the amount of features. For example, doubleTwist doesn't seem to keep photos sorted into folders when they're transferred. Instead, it dumps them all into one large pool. It's complicated to keep them organised on all those different devices, but it would be a good feature to have.

We like that files are automatically converted to a useable format when they're transferred. We had no trouble transferring a WMV video to our iPhone, BlackBerry Bold 9000 and Nokia E51, and the video worked well, once on the devices.

We took doubleTwist for a spin to see if we could connect all our devices in a big, happy multi-format love-in.

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We had no trouble connecting a BlackBerry Bold 9000, Nokia E51, iPhone 3G and SanDisk Sansa Fuze MP3 player. The mobiles had to be connected in mass-storage mode. There's plenty of well-written help on the doubleTwist forums.
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Not every sync option is available for every device -- we couldn't sync the photos on our iPhone or the videos on our Fuze.
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There's also a social-networking feature, so we could send files to our friends, and view the conversation in a 'feed' window. Friends who don't use doubleTwist can view content in a browser, but it expires in two weeks.

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