Airbind Hands-on: Wirelessly Sync iTunes with Your Android Phone

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iPhone owners have long enjoyed a home-field advantage when it comes to uploading music from iTunes onto your smartphone. Simply plug the iPhone into your Mac or PC, wait for iTunes to recognize the device and click "Sync". By comparison, adding music to Android phones can seem like a massive chore.  You can run your phone in PC Mode, allowing the device to automatically download music from your computer, but the service sometimes can't find your albums in its Internet database or alters the name of songs during the transfer.

Alternatively, Android users can manually transfer albums from their computers to their smartphones, but doing so can be time-consuming. Enter Airbind, a deceptively simply app that allows users to automatically sync iTunes with their Android phones.

Airbind promises to put all of your iTunes music on your Android phone in only 3 steps. We went hands-on with the app to see if it is really as easy to use as they claim. Downloading the Windows client was a snap, and the client itself runs silently in the background. The options in the menu are somewhat limited, allowing you only to enable and disable the client and choose where the iTunes library is located. It would have been nice to be able to specify which albums or songs you want to upload to your phone -- especially considering that some users may have more music than their phones can store.

We had problems getting the app to work at first -- Airbind couldn't find the iTunes library on our ASUS Zenbook UX31E using the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. We experienced similar problems using the app on the Motorola Droid RAZR. The need for a robust options menu quickly became apparent, as it was impossible to either diagnose the problem or find solutions to remedy it using the tools available. Thankfully, the Droid RAZR was eventually able to locate our iTunes, but we don't know what we did to make that happen.

Once set up, Airbind gives users the option to back up their music, photos and video. Users also have the option to automatically sync their iTunes files with their Android phone. When the app is ready to sync your phone with iTunes, the button in the middle of the screen changes from grey to blue. Press the button, and the syncing begins.

Once launched, it took 2 hours and 22 minutes to wirelessly transfer 2.55GB of music from our iTunes to the Droid RAZR. Although this is slow compared to transfer speeds using a USB cable, it may be due to the wireless connection in our office.

Despite a sluggish transfer speed, Airbind offers a sorely-needed service to Android owners. Gone are the days of manually transferring music from your notebook to your smartphone or futzing around with Android's finicky music database. As the instructions say: Just download Airbind for your Mac or PC, download the app for your Android phone, sync and you're done. It really is that simple.

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