Initially, we were all wowed that smartphones now allowed us the decadent pleasure of watching videos on our smartphones. But then we discovered that doing so involved downloading bulky (and sometimes bug-ridden) third-party applications that cost extra to get, those being a file converter (or transcoder) and a compatible media player.

Fortunately many smartphone makers (and their OS developers) quickly caught on that smartphone users were less than satisfied with this inconvenient (and expensive) methodology and started coming up with ways to enable their customers to get what they wanted without any extra hassle or expense.

Blackberry OS: If you own a Blackberry that came out recently, like the Blackberry 8800, Blackberry 8300, Blackberry Curve, or Blackberry Pearl, then you’ll see that it has Roxio Media Manager built in. This application lets you transcode and synchronize video files (and music files) as well as rip them to CD. Whenever you transfer a file this way, the Roxio Media Manager will present you with the option to convert the file to a format that can be viewed properly on your Blackberry via the integrated Media Player application. At that point, you can choose to sync the file using USB or a microSD card reader that’s PC-compatible in order to copy it to a microSD card that you can then simply insert into your Blackberry for easy viewing.

Symbian: If you own a Nokia smartphone, you can download a simple add-on for free to your Nokia PC Suite called the Nokia Video Manager and convert and transfer video files to your Nokia smartphone, be it a Nokia N75, Nokia N95, or any other. The N95, Nokia E90 Communicator and other more savvy Nokia devices have a mobile version of RealPlayer built in which is able to playback RealPlayer, 3GP, and MPEG-4 files without any extra steps involved.

Windows Mobile: As long as the PC you’re using with your mobile device is running Windows XP or Windows Vista, viewing videos on your smartphone is a piece of cake. Simply run Windows Media Player 11, stick a memory card into your handheld, and connect it to your PC with a USB cable. Then hit ‘Sync’ start dragging whatever video files you want to the Device pane located on the right of your display screen. Once you’ve finished with that, simply click ‘Start Sync’. When it’s finished, go to the Start Menu of your Windows Mobile smartphone and click onto the Media Player. Go to ‘Storage Card’, then ‘Menu’, then ‘Update Library’, and you’re done. Now you can easily view any of the video files you just transferred.

Alas the iPhone and devices running the Palm OS still require the use of a third-party video conversion application in order for you to transfer and convert your own video files so that they can be viewed on your smartphone. Hopefully their makers are already working diligently to remedy this deficiency. In the meantime, plenty of adequate third-party apps still exist that let you view your own video files on these devices, but unlike the solutions listed above, they’re not free.

Corey Bruhn is an independent cell phone researcher who specializes in smartphone reviews. Read our smartphone reviews at

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By pbindo