ESSENTIALS: Software to improve your life - doubleTwist

It's easy to get you computer clogged up with software. You buy a camera and Nikon wants you to install a program, you get a camcorder and Flip tells you how wonderful their desktop application is, Nokia's requiring something to get mobile images onto your machine, your iPod wants one thing, your DSi another, suddenly there are a million little logos on your taskbar fighting to get a piece the moment you mount anything to the USB port and none of the files are compatible with the other. Enough, enough, enough. How about trying another approach?

Name
doubleTwist

Type
Jukebox

Developer
doubleTwist Corporation
Platform
Windows & Mac
Price
Free


doubleTwist is essentially a media jukebox for your photos, music, videos and podcasts but really it goes a lot further than that. What's at the heart this desktop application is the issue of compatibility. The minute you plug just about any phone, camera, camcorder, games handheld or media player into it, doubleTwist will recognise the device and synch your laptop's media automatically in the right file format for your device and without having to use any other proprietary software.

Now that may not sound like magic if we're just talking about getting some MP3s onto your LG Viewty but in the crazy mad world of video codecs its a god send. It works and looks, as it happens, which is probably no coincidence, very much like iTunes. Your device appears on the side menu and you just drag and drop file selections onto it to move them over.

Now if you happen to do this with a video, doubleTwist will convert that file into whatever format your device best supports, all without the user needing any knowledge of what that files happens to be. It's an excellent system but the only issue is that it can take a while, so don't try and synch up just before you pop out the door. A long video will take a long time.

As well as that, it's also a good way to synch up iTunes playlists and podcasts as well through doubletTwist's podcast search and subscription service. You can even buy music through Amazon's MP3 store but only in the States for the moment.

Beyond synching, you can also use the software to share your photos and videos as well - sadly not the music. You either one-click uploads with buttons on the UI frame up to YouTube and Flickr or you use the Send Media to Friends option which will mail your selected contacts from Gmail or Yahoo! Mail.

Rather than send big video files, it uploads them to the doubleTwist site and sends your mailees a link to be able to stream the content from there. If the receiver happens to have the application themselves, then the video will appear in the news feed on their desktop version of the program automatically.

A lot of people describe doubleTwist as iTunes for Android but really it's more of an antidote to ecosystems. It's very neat way of breaking down some of the platform barriers without having to think about it at all. It's still in its beta phase and you rather get the feeling the developers are going to add some more features that'll really take it to the next level but it's still worth having even at this stage. Best of all, of course, it's free, so it's worth downloading even just to try it out.

If you know of any other excellent bits of software that you use instead, then let us know what it is and why it's great in the comments below. But if you fancy giving doubleTwist a try, then take a look to check if your devices are supported. They probably are.