MeCanto was installed on a Nokia E71, an S60 3rd edition FP1 device.
The MeCanto solution consists of two applications, one for the S60 device (now only available for 3rd edition) and a PC Client desktop application. I installed the PC Client on a Windows XP SP2. You also need to create an account with MeCanto on the web.
There are different music solutions for the mobile. Mobbler streams msuic from Last.fm. Audials uses multi-various plug-ins to crawl the web and download music to your device. There is a new solution from MeCanto, which is a service for storing your music collection online and enabling access to it from anywhere. Read on.
MeCanto streams all of your personal music collection from the cloud to your S60 device. To start with, you need to create a MeCanto web account and then install the MeCanto client application on the desktop. Once you have logged in to your MeCanto web account from the MeCanto desktop application, it asks for the location of your music collection on your desktop. This collection is now uploaded to your MeCanto web account.
Then you can begin using the mobile application to listen to music. The sequence of operations to setup MeCanto is as follows:
Create Web Account –> Install Application on Desktop and S60 Mobile –> Identify Music Collection on Desktop –> Start listening to music on S60 Mobile.
But it doesn’t mean you have to wait for all of your 15 Gb of music to upload to your MeCanto account online to start listening to music. The good part is that you can start listening to your music collection on your S60 mobile device almost instantly. After you have identified the music collection on your desktop, the MeCanto web account is immediately populated with the details of your music collection. MeCanto smartly streams music from your Desktop to your mobile via the web until the upload is complete. The intermediate stream sequence is Desktop –> MeCanto Web Account –> S60 Mobile Device.
Those files that are uploaded are streamed from the web and those files that are on the desktop are streamed from the desktop. As a user, you don’t have to care about the difference.
As and when you add new music to your collection, its uploaded automatically to your MeCanto web account. If you want to listen to a song that’s not yet uploaded and your desktop application is turned off, you get an error message.
You can also specify your iTunes collection and files will be picked up from the iTunes Music folder. On the web account, you can create playlists that are made available on the mobile too. MeCanto has the options to Shuffle and Repeat tracks. You can also configure the upload speed limit. 10 Kbps is the default speed limit.
You cannot play music from your web account at the same time you are playing tracks on the mobile device. I got the message “Your account is being used by another computer (or phone), you have been logged out”.
With MeCanto, I didn’t have to worry about memory space on my mobile, which is great. I can listen to all of my music collection if I have an unlimited 3G plan or a WiFi connection.
MeCanto is very easy to use. You just have to configure/setup your web account, desktop and the mobile device the first time and you are set to go on a long road trip. MeCanto just takes up around 2 Megabytes while you are playing music. I had no problems multitasking with other applications like Nokia Messaging and Gravity.
MeCanto obviously doesn’t support uploading DRM files because they cannot be streamed to the mobile. If I purchased music via iTunes or Nokia Comes With Music, I shouldn’t bother with MeCanto.
MeCanto is vaguely similar “Files on Ovi”. Files on Ovi lets you access your desktop from your mobile via an SSL connection. MeCanto monitors the music folders on your desktop, uploads them to a server and provides access to these files to you. Both ways you are handing over control of your desktop to a third party vendor and that could be a security risk.
Whether I created playlists or not, the MeCanto music player on my mobile device just could not do continuous play, i.e., play the next track after finishing the current one. After playing a track, it always stopped. I had to manually select the next song to play. That was a real pain.
I would like to know which songs have been uploaded and which are not yet on the web. So some play and some don’t when my desktop application is closed. There should be a flag against each song indicating whether its being streamed from my desktop or from MeCanto’s web servers.
The security risk of allowing Mecanto accessing my desktop may put off many people. My desktop is too precious and it is vulnerable to attacks when its accessible by a third party application. But then, that’s the service model.
Finally, I am a big user of track metadata like playcount, rating, track last played, etc and create smart playlists based on these metadata. While MeCanto lets me upload these playlists online, when I listen to music streamed from the MeCanto servers, these metadata are not updated. That’s a big weakness, for me but may not be important for many music listeners.
There are many music-on-the-cloud sevices around. You can take your pick – Audials, MeCanto, Mobbler – all of them are different in their own way but serve the purpose of listening to music on your mobile on the go. I liked MeCanto’s concept and it has been implemented quite well. But I’ll stick to my iTunes library and iPod for now. Its definitely worth a look and I’ll give it 3 of 5. Download MeCanto here.