Free Ringtone Apps for Droid / Android phones Including Video tones, and what are Ringback / Call tones tones
Ringtones is one of the simplest ways to customize your smartphone, aside from wallpaper(s) (and live wallpapers, unique to Android phones). There are many utilities available for the Android phone to customize your ringtones.
The ringtone utilities roughly falls into following cateogories:
- Ringtone editor / MP3 cutter -- cut a long MP3 song into a shorter ringtone
- Ringtone crowd-sourced sharers -- choose from a variety of crowd-sourced ringtones
- Ringtone shuffler -- randomly pick a ringtone / notification tone
- Other -- some oddball but ringtone related apps
What is a Ringback Tone?
A ringback tone is the music you hear when you call somebody else while your call is being connected. Ringback tone is a service provided by the other side's phone carrier. The carrier may provide a specific app to control it. However, it is a PAID service. You can't get it for free, because it is a service offered by the carrier, not your phone.
For example, Verizon have an Android App called V Cast Tones (also known as VZW Tones) that lets you buy ringback tones (and ringtones) as well as set ringback tones for specific contacts, as well as setup "jukeboxes" (groups of ringback tones) and regular ringtones. Your carrier may offer something similar.
Ringtone Editor / MP3 Cutter
A ringtone on Android phones is just a short MP3 file. While there are utilities on the PC for manipulating MP3s, such as amp, cut, and so on, Android phone have access to apps that can directly manipulate the MP3s and create shorter copies for ringtones and notification tones.
The best known in this genre is RingDroid. The steps you need to perform are
1) load a MP3 you have on the phone
2) select a piece of it by picking the beginning and the ending spot.
3) Preview it to make sure you like it
4) save that piece as a ringtone.
Another app is ringPOD, which lets you add fade-in and fade-out to the MP3, in addition to the cutting you can do with RingDroid.
Crowd-Sourced Ringtone Browsers
Crowd-sourcing content is one way a program can quickly gain life of its own, and ringtone browsers is one such type of program. Basically, you upload what ringtone you got, and people can download from the archive. They usually have a disclaimer that says you should not upload copyrighted material, but most people pay little attention to it, as almost every new song from every hot artist have a ringtone uploaded.
The situation got so bad that Mabilo Ringtone, the first on the block, was actually removed by Google from Android market, due to a ton of DMCA complaints from RIAA and artists who found their songs becoming ringtones. A very similar program is Zedge ringtones and wallpapers. There are many others, not all of them legal.
Most browsers have a search function if you want to look for a specific subject, artist, album, and so on, as well as a browse button where you browse "just in", "most downloaded", and so on. Once you got a list, pick a specific one that looks interesting, and you can preview and download the specific ringtone. Some also let you rate / report ringtones.
Mabilo Ringtones is probably the best known, but there are plenty of competitors. Try a few, just keep in mind that it is in a VERY gray area of the law. You are probably better off cutting your own using the MP3 cutters above.
Ringtone shufflers pick a random ringtone every time you get a call. It is not for everybody, as it completely messes up any custom ringtones you got for specific contacts, but if you just want a different ringtone every time the phone rings, there is an app for that.
ShuffleTone works well, and works for both ringtones and notification tones. The interface is a little weird, but it is functional and has variety of filters to help you narrow down your choices. It is also the only free app. The others are paid apps, with one demo available.
Other Ringtone Apps
What if you can make the phone play a VIDEO instead of just audio when a call comes in? Yes, there are VIDEO ringtones for Android, and you need an app called "Videotonez Player", and you'll need to download the videos separately.
Keep in mind that the app itself is 4 MB, and each video is several MB as well. Some can be moved to SD card, but not all, and these are a lawsuit waiting to happen, as most of these are cut straight from music videos and movies. But it does seem to work. Give it a try. It's free.
Hope these ringtone utilities will help you customize your phone even more.
If you spot something I missed, let me know in the comments. Proper feedback is always welcome.
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