One of the main reasons people buy Android phones is the wealth of customization options available in the form of apps. Apple’s App Store may still be the largest one today, but the Android Marketplace is expanding rapidly, and you’ll find most of the popular apps available on both platforms. When it comes to multimedia, the stock music and video player in Android offers very basic functionality and supports just a handful of formats. Unless you have something like Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, which supports MKV and FLAC out of the box, you have to rely on apps. Here are some of the best video and audio players available in the Marketplace, which I think are worth checking out.
We start off with RockPlayer Lite, a free video player that’s been around for sometime now and is still one of the best players. The player supports most popular video formats including MKV. The interface is not very fancy and directly gives you access to the folders and files in your phone. It also supports subtitles for movies.
A very capable barebones video player
Currently the only free version is available, which puts a little ‘R’ in the upper right corner of the screen and since the paid version has been taken down, there's no way around this.
This is my personal favourite media player, as it offers all the features of RockPlayer in an easy-to-use interface. It supports multiple audio streams from a single video, multi-subtitles, hardware and software decoding, video streaming though HTTP protocols and thumbnail display of videos. The OSD controls are very intuitive as well, for example swiping your finger on the right side of the screen lets you control the volume, while the left controls the brightness.
Will play just about any video format
You can also lock the OSD by tapping the ‘Options’ soft key on your phone. The best part, besides it being free, is that when you start it the first time, it checks if you have the necessary codecs installed. If you don’t, it will redirect you to the Marketplace for the right codec pack for your phone.
Let’s face it, the stock Android music player is a disappointment. This is where TuneWiki comes in. It’s a novice friendly music player app with a social networking twist. You sign in using your Facebook or Twitter account and invite your friends on TuneWiki. Then, through the SongBox feature, you can see what your friends are listening to, which is a great way to discover new music.
Discover new music through your friends with Facebook and Twitter integration
It even has an ‘F Like’ option for Facebook. Song ID is a feature similar to Shazaam and Sound Hound. The app also automatically pulls lyrics for the currently playing song and shows up at the bottom of the ‘Now Playing’ screen. Other features include managing and editing playlists, Song Maps that let you discover what songs are trending, videos of the songs in your playlist and streaming radio from SHOUTcast.
This app is currently still in Beta, but it works just fine and I haven’t come across any major bugs, yet. Albums are displayed in the form of a 3D cube, which can be flipped vertically to scroll through the albums or horizontally to find any album alphabetically. The animations are really slick and smooth, but you’ll probably need a fast processor for the best experience.
Cool animations make it fun to use
A five band graphic equalizer is present as well with a nice graphical representation. You also get different desktop widgets, so you can access your music without opening the app.
This is possibly the best and most powerful music player app in the Marketplace. The free version lets you try the app with all its features for 15 days. The paid version is not cheap, but worth it if you’re a music buff. The audio support list is quite extensive, which includes FLAC and APE formats, as well. The 10 band equalizer can be adjusted for a single song or a list of songs, perfect for the audio geek.
Excellent tweaking options for your music
Other features include crossfade, gapless playback, folder view, CUE file support, download missing album art, visual themes and many more. Hit the title to try the free version.
Finally, if you’re somewhat of a neat freak, then you’ll love mVideo Player. It’s not as powerful as Moboplayer or RockPlayer, as it will only play videos that your phone can natively play. However, it does one hell of a job organizing all your videos into categories, perfect if you have many TV shows on your phone.
Great app for organising your video collection
It also has IMDB and OpenSubtitles integrated to give you quick info about the movie you’re watching or find subtitles for the current video. Poster search lets you find movie posters making it easier to recognize the movie in your library.
That’s it from my end. Feel free to share your favourite media players in the comments below.