Android and iTunes
When I switched from iPhone to Android, one of the major issues was integration with iTunes. Obviously the iPhone works seamlessly with iTunes, but Apple decided to be jerks and went out of their way to make it difficult to sync other devices with iTunes. Here are the solutions I have discovered.
One way around the problem is to completely replace iTunes. I tried doubleTwist for a while. It’s very similar to iTunes but it can sync with Android and other devices. On the device you install the doubleTwist music player app, and the optional AirSync (paid) add-on for syncing over wi-fi.
If you have no need or desire to keep using iTunes, doubleTwist is a good solution. But I use Traktor DJ software, which integrates with iTunes, and I find it very convenient to have one library of tracks to maintain.
On top of copying tracks to the device, I wanted to synchronize song ratings, play counts and “last played” timestamps from the device back to iTunes (as any iPod/iPhone normally would). doubleTwist can import your iTunes library, but after that it maintains its own data, so none of this two-way synchronization was possible.
Sync with iTunes
iSyncr is a simpler solution that works directly with iTunes, including two-way sync of ratings and play info from the device. You can use any music player app with it (I use the default Android app) and a special widget allows you to change track ratings. It’s free with a paid add-on for wi-fi sync (worth it!).
So far it’s been working very well for me. I have a set of smart playlists for my phone and I sync only those. They have rules to select various tracks and limit the amount to what can fit on the memory card.
I can initiate a sync from the phone while I am on my wi-fi network at home. No need to go to the computer at all, and the playlists automatically refresh. Dare I say, it works even better than an iPhone!
Another feature iPhone/iPod users enjoy is using the Apple Remote app to control iTunes from their device. This is also possible on Android with TunesRemote+. There’s no Genius or iTunes DJ support, but you can browse playlists/albums/artists, control playback, volume and change star ratings.
Now my Android + iTunes experience is practically as seamless as it would be with an actual iOS device. Great success!