While walking past one of those mobile phone carrier kiosks at a local shopping mall, I overheard a sales associate tell a customer the only phone that synchronizes music with iTunes — the popular and free software for PCs and Macs — is an Apple iPhone.
This simply isn't true.
There are a few different ways to sync all your music (and podcasts and audio books) with devices powered by Android, the fastest growing mobile platform for phones and tablets.
The process may not be as graceful or easy as syncing media to an iPhone or iPad -- after all, Apple designed its devices to work flawlessly with iTunes as part of their "full circle" approach -- but you can in fact sync your tunes to your Android device, be it a Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC, Sony, ZTE or Huawei.
The simplest way on a PC is to use Microsoft's Windows Media Player which is included in all versions of the Windows operating system.
Simply connect your Android smartphone or tablet to your computer via a USB cable and a small window should pop up with a number of options. Double-click the one that says "Sync digital media files to this device," which has a Windows Media Player icon beside it.
If the Music tab on the left of Windows Media Player isn't already highlighted, click Music and you'll see a list of all the music on your computer. Or you can select a particular folder, or click to see or create Playlists. Note: not all iTunes music files may be supported by Android, especially if they've got digital rights management (DRM) encryption to prevent them from being played elsewhere (not likely, but worth mentioning).
You'll see your Android device listed on the right side of Windows Media Player. The last step is to drag and drop the music you want onto your Android device onto the right pane, and you'll see it will say "Add to Sync List."
A small and green "Start Sync" tab can now be clicked at the top of the screen.
From this point on, whenever you connect your phone or tablet to your PC, Windows Media Player will look for changes between the library on your phone and its own current collection, and update as needed.
Also consider DoubleTwist, TuneSync
Another, more powerful option for PCs and Macs is called DoubleTwist, a free media manager that can easily sync your music (and other media, such as photos and videos) with your Android smartphone or tablet. No wonder it's often referred to as the "iTunes for Droids."
Plus, it can import playlists and ratings from iTunes, too. Note: there's also a $5 DoubleTwist AirSync app that enables Wi-Fi syncing in your wireless network, but the free USB version should do the trick just fine.
The first step is to download and install DoubleTwist for your computer. There is a DoubleTwist media player app for Android on this same website, but you need only the desktop version to set up synchronization.
Next, launch DoubleTwist and it will scan your PC for media. Just like Windows Media Player, whatever it doesn't find you can manually import on your own, be it music, music playlists, photos, and videos.
The last step is to connect your Android phone or tablet to your computer via USB, and select "USB Mass Storage" or "Disk Drive mode" and you'll see your device listed under Devices in DoubleTwist.
Another piece of software called TuneSync lets you sync your Android device with iTunes on your PC or Mac, via Wi-Fi.
First download and install the TuneSync software for your Windows or OS X, then download the app for your Android device. It costs under $6 at the Google Play or Amazon Appstore. A free version called TuneSync Lite is available but it's limited to 20 songs for 1 playlist.
The remaining steps are to type in the computer name you wish to sync with on the Android device, select the playlists you wish to sync with and then TuneSync will start copying your music files over to your portable player.
Going forward, TuneSync will also keep your device synchronized on a regular basis over your Wi-Fi connection.
Yahoo! Digital Crave readers, how do you sync your Android device with iTunes, if at all? If not, do you use Google Music, Amazon Cloud or a streaming service like Pandora, Songza or Spotify?