Posted July 21, 2005
Somehow ringtones for cell phones rang up $4 billion in worldwide sales last year—a rather astonishing testament to the universal need to find ways to personalize the technology in our lives. It's been a nice gravy train for the music industry, but it's surely set to derail in the next couple of years as cell phones and MP3 players converge. (I'm hoping for a sleek little iPod phone from Apple.) Until then, you can make your phone ultra-personal by bypassing the cheesy ringtone market (why do most of them sound like they were recorded on an old Casiotone keyboard?) with your own custom-made, high-fidelity ringtone. For less that $20 for a software product called Xingtone—newly available in a version that works on both Macs and PCs—you can "rip" an unlimited number of ringtones. The source: any CD or MP3 or WMA file, which means you could even make a snippet of your cat Toonces meowing into a ringtone if you wanted. I found Xingtone incredibly easy to use, and the ringtones it creates are compatible with more than 100 cell phones on the Cingular, Sprint PCS, and T-Mobile networks. You can check compatibility, before you buy the software, in just a few seconds at xingtone.com—then head over to Amazon to order it at 15 percent off.
$16.99 at amazon.com.