Monday, March 14, 2005

Converting wallpaper and ringtones for Nextel phones (i710, i830, etc)

Most recent Nextel phones can use two types of ringtones: midi or wav. Each of these must be in a specific format to be usable on your phone.

Midi files must be “type 0” Many of the files you download from the internet will be type 1 instead, and must be converted to work as ringtones. The best program I have found so far for converting midi files is called MID Convertor. At the time of this writing I’m using MID Convertor 3.2. ( The free trial works fine for this, full version is $29.95) Conversion using this program is a simple one step process: just open the program, select the file you want to convert and hit the “Convert to MIDI 0” button in the programs toolbar.

Some midi files may sound differently once loaded onto the phone. This has to do with the structure of the midi file format, and how the different phones process the files. In short, midi files are divided into channels, and some phone play more channels than others. And channels in the file beyond the number the phone can play are simply dropped, and this can negatively affect the sound of the ringtone.

Wav ringtones are rather more complex. They must be 8000khz, 8-bit, mono, PCM format. Theoretically, most sound editing programs should be able to convert files to this format if they can save .wav files, however I had numerous problems getting programs to actually convert files to these specific settings. The only program I found that was able to reliably convert files to this format was “FlexiMusic Wave Editor” from . The program is $15 shareware.

Lastly, making wallpapers is fairly easy with a small freeware program called IrfanView
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Wallpapers for the i710 should be 130 x 130, 8bpp, gifs and less than 16kb in size. They also must have the .gif extension for the phone to correctly recognize them.
I830 wallpapers are 176 x 220. Other phones’ specifications can be find using google, or by trial and error. It’s possible that the newer phones may be able to support higher color images, and or larger images.

Simplest program for loading the files (assuming you have the necessary cable) is “myJal” ( , $9.95 after the trial period expires.)


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