One of the reasons I was looking for a phone with copious amounts of mass memory was for music. I have a 16GB iPod Touch I bought last year which I use for music (and very little else). When purchased, I thought I'd make use of the apps and I have downloaded and even purchased a number of apps but I find I mostly use it for music. The hitch is that when I'm plugged in, which is pretty much at all times when someone's not with me and I'm in travel (at least 3 hours a day) I can't hear my phone right. The N95 does have a built in music player but with only 8GB internal memory and no expansion slot, it's simply not big enough for my daily use (don't laugh). That said, I have occasionally used it and it does work great.
One of the things I had to get working on the N900 was the music player but there were a few glitches. We have an exterior hardrive connected to our network via our router with 100+ GB of music. In a desperate attempt to get things to work, I installed the OVI Music Player but the problem here is that it was taking for-ever to populate the library. The other problem: Windows 7 wasn't detecting the device as mass storage which meant that some of the other music management software out there didn't detect it as a drive for me to drop music in. I tried Double Twist, Songbird and my trusty J. River Media Jukebox (which, if you haven't checked out you really should - it's a powerful app and completely free) before finally giving up for the day.
I did some more research and reading and thought I was ready for action when something in Windows 7 clicked and when I plugged the phone in as a mass storage device on Friday, Windows actually detected it and let me transfer music over. I created a file in the main directory called Music and started transferring files over. I'd read somewhere that the internal software on the N900 wouldn't read folders but after a few tests, I discovered that that's not true and indeed, the software does actually read through folders though take note, it only organizes by meta data so make sure your music is properly tagged.
I found that for the media player to find the music in the new folder I created, I first had to use the phone's file system to navigate to my newly created "Music" folder and picked a song to pay. The media player then detected the rest of the music and I haven't had to navigate there again - the library automatically detects newly added music.
This is the sleek media player window that comes up when you launch the application:
It's very sleek.
This is a shot of the music library. I think it automatically detects images as album covers but I haven't figured out that bit yet - yes, I'm a little anal about my album covers.
I think there may be other viewing options available (like a list view) but I haven't checked those out yet). There's also the option to create playlists on the go and add music to a "now playing" sort of queue, something which I loved on the Zune but which the iTouch is lacking.
This is the "Now Playing" screen:
If you're multitasking or simply want quickly restart your music (if, for example, you paused it or it was paused by an incoming answered call or something), you can do so from the desktop. I have a little widget sitting on the left hand side of my first desktop:
Other great bonuses is internet radio and I think the phone also has a built in FM transmitter that I have yet to explore.
The other major hurdle to jump was music tracking. I live by Last.fm and had to figure out how to get it to work (hence why I was so eager to use either Songbird or Media Jukebox, both of which have scrobblers) but the N900 has one better: instant scrobbling. Let me explain.
A scrobbler is a little program that runs with your software (there are a bunch of versions for various mp3 players and desktop applications including one for iTunes though lately I'be been having quite a bit of trouble with the iTunes plugin). A wonderful developer by the name of Claudio Saavedra went ahead and built a Last.fm scrobbler. Once installed it's activated from the phone's "Settings" menu. You add your username and password and voila! You're set to go! The scrobbler uses the internet connection to automatically update your Last.fm account in real time. It's a sweet sweet set-up!