The Zune is launching next week, but if you already own a mobile phone you may not need a Zune to enjoy your music and podcasts on the road. The T-Mobile Dash was launched a couple weeks ago and has some hidden treasures that I am discovering as I start to use it more and more every day. The Dash has integrated wireless radios in a slim, cool form factor and is available for only US$200.
Last month I detailed how the Nokia N91 filled the role as an excellent portable media player with its ability to work with the unlimited Yahoo! Music subscription service, download podcasts directly to the device via WiFi and the Nokia podcasting application, and 3.5 mm standard headset jack. Just about 2 weeks ago I picked up the T-Mobile Dash and today on a whim I tried syncing my Yahoo! Music service with the device and lo and behold it actually worked. There were only 3 older devices listed on the Yahoo! site as compatible with the service and it didn't work when I tried the Samsung i320 or other Windows Mobile devices, but I can confirm that it does with with the T-Mobile Dash sold in the United States.
So after figuring this out, I then tried to think of how I could use the integrated 802.11b/g WiFi to download podcasts directly to the device. I thought of the RSS aggregator I use, and then after checking it out I saw how I could create a podcast folder and subscribe directly to lots of podcast feeds. This now allows me to download podcasts directly to the storage card on my Dash.
The last thing to figure out was how to plug in headphones and listen to the tunes. Unfortunately, the Dash doesn't have a 3.5mm or even 2.5mm headphone jack and instead uses a special miniUSB connector. I could use the headphones that came with the device, but would prefer to use the Infinite Ears super.fi 5 Pro earphones I purchased. I found some sites that show how to make an adapter yourself using a solder gun and may have to make one soon. An even geekier solution that allows me to keep the phone in my case is to use the A2DP Bluetooth profile and a set of Bluetooth stereo headphones. I tried this and it works well, although the sound quality isn't as great as a direct connection to a high quality set of earphones. I now have to look for a cheap 2GB microSD card so I can load up lots of tunes. If you want to carry your music and podcast connection with you along with having your mobile phone, then you too may also want to consider the T-Mobile Dash.