Saturday, May 15

Pocket Theater

Movies on the go.

Time for a bit of techie phone-whoring.

A couple of years ago, it was pretty standard to see someone come along and bring out their trusty, clunky mobile phone and kill time with a game or two of Snake. Or better yet, ALIEN SCUM.

These days though, I can pass the time instead by bringing out my cellphone and watching the latest hot movie trailer, an excerpt from my favorite anime, a hilarious TV commerical or even (my gosh) a bit of mini-porn. Heh. Video capability is the most exciting treat given to users of the Symbian OS smartphones- which comprises of the Nokia 60 series (3650, 3660, 6600 etc) and the Sony Ericsson P800/P900.
Until recently, I've been pretty happy with the embedded RealOne Player in my 6600. After discovering an easy-to-use PC program from Nokia which lets me convert MPEGs into 3G.PP files (a Quicktime-based format of video for Symbian phones), I've been loading up my 128 MBs of memory with all sorts of eye candy. The only limits were of course space for the vids and the resolution of the screen. The RealOne player only gives you the middle part of the phone's screen to use, so videos are pretty small (almost postage-stamp small) and there is usually a good deal of pixellation and blurring that occurs with videos. Despite this, I was in video bliss. At one time, I was actually carrying around 5 full episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in my phone.

In the past few days though, I've discovered an amazing new videoplayer called the Smartmovie Player, and I have to say it's probably the BEST videoplayer for a phone you can get. No, it's not from the telecom company- this lovely piece of software is made by a software developer called Lonely Cat Games, and the program is shareware online; you can try out a trial version and if it suits you, the full program can be purchased via secure credit card transaction.

Anyway, the Smartmovie player doesn't use the 3G.PP format- instead it plays AVIs, which makes for MUCH much clearer videos. Say goodbye to blurring and pixels!

The program comes in two parts- a 300+k-size player which is installed in your Symbian phone, and a PC-only converter which you use to convert almost any video file into properly-sized AVIs for viewing on your phone. The files are pretty easy to install in both your phone and on your PC. The converter is incredibly user-friendly and powerful for such a small program, at least after you get past configuring the video and audio resolutions and installing the proper codex. You can even edit videos so you can shave off unwanted seconds and save precious space on your phone's memory.

The best part about Smartmovie is that you can orient videos to play full screen on landscape mode on your phone- that pretty much uses the whole screen. And let me tell you, videos are super clear and HUGE (for a phone), which makes it a totally different and vastly more enjoyable experience than watching the dinky little 3GP videos.
While converting the videos, you can configure resolution of video and audio quality. With the right settings, it takes about less than 1 MB for about a minute of video- this means with a 256 MB card or 128 Memory Stick you can probably be walking around carrying an entire Lord of the Rings movie in your phone!
Of course, why waste phone space watching boring hours of Frodo and Sam climb Mount Doom when you can just watch Mumakil-killing at the Siege of Gondor right away? You can get the best, most exciting parts and bring those with you instead! A person on the go really can't afford to take a break for more than a few minutes- so a trailer or snippet is more than enough to pass the time.

So if you're packing a Symbian phone and want to videos to go, load up a large memory card/stick and try out Smartmovie player at Loney Cat Games.

I'm having a grand time, and it's great not only for me to kill time on commutes or when just waiting around- now I can actually show friends that new anime or game I'm obsessing about, that hot movie or this crazy commercial I saw. COOLNESS.

And of course, basking in the aura of peoples' jealousy is cool too. Heheh...

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