Selling mobile phone ringtones is a pretty good racket. Extract a twenty or thirty-second clip from a four minute song, sell it for three times the price of the full song, and set the ringtone to expire in three months so it must be purchased again. One wonders how the people who dream up these schemes sleep at night.
Luckily, if you own a Windows Mobile Smartphone, you can bypass all of this ridiculousness and use your own MP3 audio files as ringtones. Windows Mobile Smartphones include the Motorola Q, T-Mobile Dash, Samsung BlackJack, Cingular 3125 and more.
In this tutorial, we'll show you how to use your existing MP3 audio files as Windows Mobile Smartphone ringtones in three easy steps. All you need is the USB connection cable that came with handset, an MP3 audio file and a few minutes of free time.
Step 1: Know Your Folders
Smartphones running the Windows Mobile operating system employ the same basic folder structure as the version of Windows running on your PC. The first step in using an MP3 as a ringtone is to locate the folder where ringtone files are stored on your smartphone.
Connect your smartphone to your Windows PC. Allow ActiveSync or Windows Mobile Device Center to complete the sync process. Select the Explore feature:
The Explore feature allows you to browse the files stored on your mobile device. Navigate to the My Windows Mobile-Based Device > Application Data > Sounds folder. This is the folder in which MP3 audio files must be stored in order to be used as ringtones.
You'll need this folder for Step 2, so keep it open or minimize it to your Windows Taskbar.
Step 2: Moving MP3 Files to the Sounds Folder
Next, locate the MP3 audio file you wish to transfer to your smartphone. Our audio file file, Ram Jam's "Black Betty," is on our Windows Desktop. This is an easy place to store the MP3 file that's waiting to be moved to the phone. Once you've found your MP3 file, with the Sounds folder window still open, drag and drop the file to the Sounds folder using your mouse:
The file will then be copied to your smartphone. Wait for the transfer to complete:
Step 3: Use the MP3 File as a Ringtone
Now that you've copied the MP3 file to your Windows Mobile smartphone, it's time to setup the phone's software to use the MP3 file as a ringtone. On the Home Screen, open the Start Menu and navigate to Settings:
In the Settings menu, select Sounds. The first drop-down menu should contain your currently-selected ringtone. Open the drop-down menu and you should see your new ringtone:
Select the new ringtone, tap Done and Done again. Your new MP3 ringtone is now ready for your first incoming call.
While all MP3 files may seem alike, there are different ways of encoding MP3s which result in different bitrates. To minimize possible problems, limit your MP3 files' bitrate to 128kpbs.
If you don't want to transfer an entire MP3 file to your smartphone, you can download software to your Windows PC which will allow you to clip an MP3 file to take up less space on your smartphone. One free application available for clipping your MP3 files is AudioBlast, which can be downloaded here.