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Audible Now Offers Over the Air

It’s been over a year now since I last wrote an in-depth review of Audible’s audiobooks service for our Treo.  Although I have continued to use it regularly since then I had grown a little frustrated by the lack of improvements that had been made to the overly complex and hard to use desktop application used to Hotsync my audiobooks and other audio subscriptions.

Last week at CTIA however I was pleasantly surprised to meet some of Audible’s representatives at the Palm booth who were demoing a new application called AudibleAir which has been specifically designed for our Treo and other WiFi enabled PalmOS devices.

Not only was I amazed to see that Audible had actually taken the trouble to develop a new application for our Treo but also that they had actually been very smart to focus their efforts to specifically exploit the wireless data connectivity to add value and improve their offering.  Additionally, since I hadn’t been particularly impressed with the company’s technical skills I was left to assume that the new AudibleAir application would be OK but not great.  However after installing and playing around with it I quickly discovered that I had actually stumbled across one of the best new applications for my Treo.

The AudibleAir application on our Treo essentially replaces the previous AudibleManager desktop application so that you can view all of your personal Audible Library (containing a list of your audiobook purchases) and download any of these titles directly to your Treo using your wireless data connection.

  

If you are an existing Audible subscriber and currently have the Audible Player installed on your Treo you will first have to delete (Menu+App) all of the existing audiobooks on your card and then delete the Audible Player application itself.  Next, login to Audible and at the top righ click on the Software tab where you’ll find the download link for AudibleAir.

Installing AudibleAir couldn’t be simpler and requires nothing more than a double-click on your PC and a Hotsync with your Treo.  Once loaded, launch AudibleAir (screenshots above) and enter your Audible user name and password to login to your accound and load all of the titles in your library (below right).

  

AudibleAir doesn’t automatically download all of your audiobooks but instead presents you with a list of your titles.  To proceed with a download simply click the button which will give you the details of that particular title and provide you with the option to:

  • download from 5 minutes to the entire length of the audiobook
  • choose the section within the audiobook you wish to start your download from
  • choose the format (2 Good Quality and 3 Better Quality)
  • choose a start time for your download (now or in 5 mins, 1 hour, etc)
  • save to either internal or external (SD card) memory
  • view the download size of your selected portion

   

Once your title has been downloaded (above) then you’ll be asked if you’d like to play it now with Audible Player or alternatively you can simply press the blue ‘play’ arrow button at the top center which will automatically launch the Audible Player as well.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have found listening to Audible with my Seidio 2–in-1 headset absolutely great during any short or long trip, on foot, in a car or on a plane.

  

Two other preferences (above) include 1) the option to enable the automatic refresh of your library at a specific time every day and also if you’ve listened to more than a specified time any of your audiobooks and 2) set your default audiobook download length, quality and whether you’d like to close your data connection on exit.

At present, AudibleAir’s only limitation is that it doesn’t allow you to actually purchase new books via your Treo but simply presents you with a list of your existing titles.  However, the company assures me that they are already working on enabling purchases via AudibleAir shortly.  Leaving this aside, AudibleAir is unquestionnably one of the best media applications that I have come across and I can only hope that other companies in the photo, music and movies spaces will look to emulate Audible’s excellent development.

If you’re already an Audible subscriber then AudibleAir will provide you with one more reason to like the service and if you’re not a subscriber then you should definitely reconsider signing up (with a three free audiobook offer) now that AudibleAir has become available for our Treo.

Treonauts want all their media over the air


Posted by Andrew on October 6, 2005 at 07:01 AM

Treo Software | Audio

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» Treonauts: Audible Now Offers Over the Air from Iceman Baldy's PDA Exploits
You can now use your Treo to download and update your personal Audible library subscriptions wirelessly, without a desktop or ... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 5, 2005 11:29:55 PM

» EarBuds: The Audible Podcast, Episode #2 from The Right Channel
The second episode of EarBuds is now available for your aural enjoyment. In this episode: This is Audible, our new radio show on XM Channel 163 (Tuesday & Friday 7:30 AM ET & 3:30 PM ET; Friday 5:30 PM ET.... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 23, 2005 2:51:24 PM



Comments

1
by Kurt | Oct 5, 2005 8:21:20 PM

Wow. This might be worth looking into...

2
by Fred | Oct 6, 2005 5:55:36 AM

It does look great and I'm glad they include Palm devices in their OS's, but I don't understand why one has to sign up and join before being able to see what books and magazines they have and at what prices. Doesn't seem right. Sure, they let you 'quit' after 14 days if you want, but who needs the bother of signing up, giving credit card info and then quitting just to see availability and prices?

3
by Dave | Oct 6, 2005 1:15:30 PM

I have been using this service for 2 weeks. I like the partial book downloads, since I only download what I need. However, I have had an issue with purchasing single subscription items. For example, I purchased an old episode of This American Life. Although it shows up on the web, it doesn't show up on my Treo app. Tech support had only the suggestion that I refresh the application (to which I responded that I am not an idiot). Still, I like the service as it untethers me from syncing to the desktop Audible software (unless of course I want to listen to my download of This American Life).

4
by Jimbo | Oct 6, 2005 10:53:49 PM

Is there anything similar available for traditional ebook (ya'know, the ones you read)?

Can you buy an ebook from ereader using blazer for instance?

5
by Judith | Oct 7, 2005 3:15:23 AM

Andrew,

I logged onto your site this evening specifically to search for information about Audible and found your post. Great timing!

I have purchased a Seidio 2-in-1 headset (from Treonauts) based on your recomendation and I love the ability to switch to the phone and back.

Do you have a recommendation for playing the downloaded books (or music) in the car? I don't have bluetooth in my car. Is there any way to use the car stereo?

Thanks for information.

Judith

6
by Andrew | Oct 7, 2005 5:17:16 AM

Judith - thank you. To play your music or audiobooks in the car I can recommend Seidio's iSound FM Transmitter http://shop.treonauts.com/content/accessories/12-77--282.htm or a 'cassette adapter' if you have a tape player in your car.

Cheers, A.

7
by Dave | Oct 7, 2005 10:14:41 AM

Jimbo:

I buy all of my e-books using Blazer. You can download the ZIP files to your SD card and open them with an app such as Resco Explorer, but my preferred method is to open the PDB files directly from the links on my Library page on E-Reader. I install them to my SD card, and voila... instant e-book.

8
by Judith | Oct 8, 2005 4:25:26 AM

Hi Andrew,

A few more questions as I try to take full advantage of the audio capabilities of the Treo in the car:
1. I do have a CD player in my car, but not sure how the cassette adapter works?
2. What do you use to hold/mount your Treo in the car?

Thanks for your great site.

Judith

9
by Ronin | Oct 10, 2005 6:33:37 PM

Dave,

is there a eReader url for mobile devices or are you logging in using the regular URL?

10
by Carl | Oct 11, 2005 6:08:30 PM

For e-books, Fictionwise.com also works fine from Blazer -- I regularly both buy and download books from Blazer. (I don't know of a particular mobile URL, and the regular site is a little slow over my cellular link, but still entirely usable.)

11
by Dave | Oct 12, 2005 2:17:23 PM

Ronin,

I just login via the regular URL for my bookshelf @ (https://secure.ereader.com/user/account/bookshelf)

12
by Joseph Krauskopf | Oct 14, 2005 1:54:23 PM

Andrew,

I've been an Audible subscriber for some time and haven't found the subscriptions useful until now. Audible Air is great. However, I too would like to listen in my car. My Treo links to the in-car BT for placing and receiving calls. Is there anyway to make that work to listen to this audio?
thanks!

13
by Kajo | Oct 14, 2005 1:56:49 PM

To the first comment poster - you do not have to sign up to browse audiobooks and see prices. Instead of using the link in this blog, just go to audible.com and browse.

Nice review. I've been on the fence about Audible, but the auto load at night feature is pushing me over the edge to subscribe.

14
by Kurt | Oct 14, 2005 3:24:41 PM

After looking into this, I've found that it is way way way too expensive. $22 a month for something that I might use for 4-5 hours is crazy. I'll do podcasts, thank you very much.

15
by Larry | Jan 22, 2006 2:45:10 AM

I have a Treo 650 and an Audible.com account. I listen to books all the time and love it. I have a 30 minute commute to work each way and I also walk daily for an hour and a half most days of the week. I have a 1 gig memory card and for walking, use a simple universal handsfree mono earbud with the pushbutton on the mic so I can answer any calls that come in. I used to have a Seido stereo headset with a pushbutton on it, but the thing quit working after a couple of months.

In the car I wanted to listen to the stereo over the car speakers, so I rigged one of those cassette adapters to work with a handsfree headset that has a button on the microphone, similar to the one I use when walking. It's pretty simple if you can use a soldering iron and are at all handy. You won't get true stereo sound using a simple handsfree headset into the cassette, but with audio books, you don't need stereo.
You need a quality cassette adapter that will work with your cassette player. My player rejects the cheap ones. I found one from Creative that worked okay. Belkin might be another good one. I took my cassette adapter apart, disconnected the left and right wires carrying the sound and replaced them with (soldered in) the two-wires from the earbud that I had merely clipped off and thrown away. If you want the sound to come out of both speakers in your car, you will need to bridge a short wire from the left speaker's solder point inside the cassette, over to the right speaker's solder point. I had to lengthen the speaker wire going from the 2.5mm jack into the cassette by soldering in short piece. Now you just plug in and play your audio book. When the phone rings, you push the little button on the mike and answer the call. The book automatically pauses while you take the call. When you hang up, the call continues. I bought the handsfree unit from Target for less than $10 (Sanyo #20487). You might have to pay $20 for the cassette adapter (I got mine free from Audible when I signed up). Stay away from the cassette adapters for Nokia phones. If you don't have a cassette player, you can usually rig an input jack to the auxillary input that's on most stereo players (see the auto stereo stores, Circuit City, Car Toys, etc.).

16
by dehan_davis | Dec 11, 2006 11:01:52 AM

I am trying to use AudibleAir on my 700p but can't get
it installed (even with the help of audible tech
support). The issue appears to be that I use a Mac as
my desktop machine. The file for download is an .exe
file, useless to a Mac. I asked tech support about a
different way to get AudibleAir and they said if I
downloaded Audible player that it would be included in
that installation. I just did that and no AudibleAir.
I then decided to have a friend download the
AudibleAir installer file for me and see if he could
extract just the .prc/.pdb files I would need and then
e-mail them to me so I could install them on my Mac
but no luck. He couldn't get the .exe folder to work
without having an active palm desktop profile on his
machine. Can someone send me the files or tell me how
to get them somewhere that my Mac can open. Unless
there is something else I have missed. I tried to get
it directly on my treo and they said no way, has to be
installed via hotsync.

While I am at it, I tried to transfer my audible books
over with just the player and iTunes but it said my
Treo needed file format 2 or 3 but I have format 4
downloaded for use on my iPod. Is there a way to
change formats within iTunes or do I need to wait for
AudibleAir to start working for me and just download
them straight to the Treo?

Last question strand, has anyone given up their iPod?
I am considering going to just the Treo if I can get
this glitch worked out. Am I crazy or have folks
found their Treos to be handy audio players?

thanks for any help or wisdom.

17
by billy | Sep 17, 2007 3:19:18 PM

Great review and ifno, but what about just using something like mediamaster.com to stream your audiobooks? you cna just upload it their website and access it via mediamaster.com/mobile. Works so far for me. Thanks again!

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