Today this question from Mary...

"I am thinking about getting a new Windows [Mobile] phone and was wondering how to install ring tones? Can I use any files? I'm also looking at the new iPhone but I read that you have to purchase ring tones for the iPhone."

Is it ringtone or ring tones?  I have no idea.

There are free and commercial ring tones, and you can also make your own.  IMHO, Windows Mobile certainly seems easier to customize ring tones, even if the process is a little more involved than on the iPhone.  As noted in Wired magazine's recent article on iPhone ring tone hacks, the process isn't very streamlined on the iPhone with iTunes... 

"Users have to pay Apple $1 for a song, plus an extra $1 to convert that song into a ringtone. Of course, hackers immediately set out to find a way to generate iPhone ringtones for free. In a classic game of cat and mouse, Apple has spent the last few days trying to block iPhone owners from installing free ringtones on their devices -- only to watch hackers come up with workarounds just hours after each patch is released."

As noted on the Windows Mobile Total Access site, you can use just about any Windows Media Audio file for a ring tone, or download free ring tones from Total Access. (Click here for installing ring tones via Windows Vista, or here for Windows XP Users.)  It's best to select an audio file that is less than 20-30 seconds in length (WMA, or MP3 seems to work fine, too).

To transfer the file to your phone, connect your phone to your computer and on Vista, use the Windows Mobile Phone Center to drag copy the ring tones into the Sounds or My Ring Tones folder on your phone.

If you receive a ring tone via email or download one via the Internet on to your phone, you can choose to save it to your Ring tones folder by clicking on the file and selecting to save the file (with Save As...) to the Ring Tones folder in your main memory.

To select a new ring tone on your phone, press Start, and then click on Settings and then click on the Sounds & Notifications icon (WM6) or on the Sounds icon (WM5):

  • On WM5, on the Ring tone drop-down menu, choose the ring tone you’d like to use. To hear a ring tone, simply wait a few seconds after making each selection. When you've found the ring tone you want, press Done.
  • For WM6, click on the notifications tab and scroll down the pop up menu next to Event, and select 'Phone: Incoming call' and select the ring tone of your choice from the pop up menu.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows Mobile, ringtones, mobile phones, customer support.