How to Pick the Right Media Player for Your Phone

Until a few years ago when people heard the term Droid, they might have thought of the Trade Federation’s army featured in Star Wars. Here’s how droid is defined in the dictionary:

  • Noun – (in science fiction) a robot
  • Figurative – a person regarded as lifeless or mechanical: she will probably leave you for a sales droid.
  • Computing – a program that automatically collects information from remote systems

So how do you define your Android?

Mine is a handy, little pocket-sized robot (that I am far too attached to) that travels with me everywhere I go, connecting me with others and providing me with hours of endless entertainment. My Droid spends far more time in my hands that it does in my pocket. That’s the power of the mobile device; entertainment whenever you want it and wherever you are. The future of entertainment definitely involves mobile video technology.

Your Smartphone; is a powerful, portable device that can provide a connection to others and the world, organizational tools, and a multitude of entertainment options simultaneously; the triangular integration of the cell phone, the personal computer and the media player into one pocket-sized device.

The Typical Android Media Player

The video mobile market is expanding exponentially across the globe and much of that growth is being catalyzed by a huge increase in video content created specifically for mobile devices. Unfortunately all video content is not created equal, with a huge variety in file types and formats. As a result, Android software and hardware developers are rushing to keep up with the vast array of content that is being created.

The average “out-of-the-box” Android smartphone contains a “stock standard media player” which is perfect for viewing the occasional photo, listening to music or downloading a video or two. It doesn’t always group all of those activities in the same application. That said, if you have an expansive and diverse taste in music and online videos then the stock standard probably won’t do and you will most likely need to download a “3rd party media player app.”

The good news is most of these apps are either super inexpensive or completely free and they will markedly increase the quality of your mobile listening and viewing experience.

How To Choose A Media Player

There are so many apps out there on the market, how do you choose the best one for your Android phone? Research, test, and try. Most of the apps are free so there is nothing wrong with looking on Google Play until you find an application that you love.

Please note that if you watch a lot of video, having a MP4 player is practically a requirement. Choosing an MP4 player is easy, even for a video novice. Other than that, it really depends on what you want as some player’s focus more on video like Mobo or music like Amazon Cloud Player.
We’re going to focus on mobile video since it is a leading driver in Android media player development.

5 Things to Consider When Choosing A Mobile Video Player

  1. It delivers the highest quality of video playback supported on your phone. The video should play fast and smooth, it shouldn’t be pixilated or stutter. While this can be a result of a connection when streaming video on a phone from a site like YouTube, video that is saved on your phone and is not being played over a wireless connection shouldn’t encounter those issues.
  2. Be able to play the majority of video formats. Please note: If you stumble upon a rare format that won’t play with your app, you maybe able to grab an optimized codec package for the format on the Google Play Market.
  3. An easy to use interface. Is the media library easy to browse? Can you arrange media content into your own folders? Can you easily change the volume, brightness, etc. while the video is playing?
  4. Does your mobile video player allow for social media interaction and sharing? Video content is becoming increasingly interactive and you are going to want these functions.
  5. Subtitling. If you frequently watch content in another language that you don’t speak then choose a player that supports subtitlles.

Some of the more popular android video players that you might want to first check out include:
Mobo, mVideoPlayer, MX Video Player, Plex, RealPlayer Android, VPlayer, Act 1 Video Player
Once you pick the player you want you’ll appreciate the download process is remarkably simple and straightforward; the chosen app should only take a couple of minutes to install on your smartphone. You can either load the media player of your choice either via the Google Play Store app on your Android smartphone or if your phone is synced with your gmail account you can send it straight to your phone via Google Play.

The Future Of The Android Media Player

Now your central computer (your smartphone) travels with you; the rest of the devices in your home: your desktop, your sound system, and your television are really just portals that you can access with that powerful little computer in your pocket. Your entertainment system now goes where you go. Fully centralized, fully integrated, that is the future of mobile.

The future of the Android media player is that it will become an all-encompassing media hub. It is a device that’s small enough to carry in your pocket, but powerful enough to aggregate and hold all your media from a wide range of different sources and play videos from a myriad of mobile video sites. To do this, expect third party apps to become more robust and the storage ability of Android devices to expand, and the crossover connectivity with other devices in the home (laptops, desktops, and televisions) to develop further.

Do you like the stock Android video player that came standard on your phone? What’s the most important feature you want an Android video player to have? What types of videos do you watch most on your phone?

Geoff Talbot is a writer for the RealPlayer blog. www.real.com/resources