Something that I’ve complained about over and over again since the platform launched late last year, and I’m certain that many others have also complained about the same thing, is the lack of custom ringtones on the device. I have a number of different and unique ringtones that I like to use. Further, I know a lot od people that like to use their kids voices or sounds from the family pet as the email alerts, ringtones, and alarms. As everyone knows, that’s just not possible with Windows Phone 7. At least not without heading down the messy path unlocking and side-loading apps.
At MIX 2011, Microsoft announced that there was a new API coming in Mango that would allow developers to access and set ringtones on the device. However there was nothing else shared about how this is done, or exactly what the end user experience would be on the device. Now, thanks to a blog post by Alice Luu, program manager for the sound experience on Windows Phone, we’ve learned a little more about what will be possible.
First off, to qualify as a ringtone the file must be 39 seconds long or less with a total file size less then 1MB. The file has to be in MP3 or WMA format and can not be DRM protected. The next thing you’ll need to do is add the file to your music collection in the Zune desktop software. Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to change the Genre to a special tag called “Ringtone”. Any files listed under the genre of Ringtone will not show up or play in your music collection. Now sync your phone with your computer and these files will be transferred to the phone. If you then go into Settings / ringtones & sounds, you’ll see your custom ringtones in the list of available ringtones on the device.
What I’m still looking to see is what the developers are going to do with access to ringtones. I’m hopefully that Zedge will bring a Windows Phone client to the marketplace allowing us to access their wealth of audio files directly from the device.
Alice also let us know that there are new sounds being included in Mango. You can read the full blog post over here.