Ringing in Mango

Ringing in Mango

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Custom ringtones are coming.

If there’s one request we’ve heard over and over since launching Windows Phone last year, it’s this: More ringtones, please! I’m the program manager for the “sound experience” on the phone—everything from ringtones and alarms to alerts and key clicks. Today I wanted to take a minute to tell you about the ringtone-related changes in store for Mango, the next version of Windows Phone arriving this fall.

New wave of ringtone apps

Before I talk about how you can add your own ringtones, I wanted to touch on the primary scenario my team had in mind for Mango: unleashing the creative energy of app developers.

Starting this fall, I expect to see a burst of ringtone-related apps in Marketplace. Without getting too technical, that’s because of new under-the-hood changes we’ve made that make it possible for developers to build ringtone apps and also add ringtone-related features to existing ones.

Like what?

Well, imagine you’ve downloaded a voice recording app for capturing your baby’s giggles or your best friend’s comic outbursts. Come this fall, you might see a new Save as Ringtone option in the app that turns that sound into a unique ring.

That’s just one possibility. In Mango, any Marketplace app that revolves around sound or music—karaoke apps, sound effect apps, DJ apps, music instrument apps—potentially become a source of new custom ringtones for your phone.

That’s the idea, anyway. In Mango, we’re giving developers the tools. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

In Mango, you'll be able to add your own custom ringtones to Windows Phone.Custom ringtones will appear in Settings, under a new Custom heading.

Making your own tones

But we know many of you have a particular ringtone in mind—or sound files already on your PC that you’d like to turn into one. In Mango, we give you the flexibility to do this yourself—with some important caveats. To qualify as a ringtone, a sound file must be:

  • 39 seconds or shorter
  • smaller than 1 megabyte (MB)
  • saved in MP3 or WMA format
  • not copy-protected (i.e. DRM free)

This post isn’t intended to be a tutorial on creating custom ringtones (we’ll cover that in more detail once Mango is available), but I wanted to provide a flavor for how it will all work.

In short, custom ringtones can be installed using the Zune software on your PC. Once you’ve created an audio file that meets the ringtone requirements, find it in your Zune music collection, right-click the file, and change the Genre field to Ringtone. Then just sync the file to your phone like you would any music track.

You'll be able to add custom ringtones to your phone using the Zune software on your PC.

Don’t worry: items marked Ringtone won’t show up in your phone’s music collection—so there’s no need to fear that during a workout you’ll suddenly hear your dog barking or other homemade ring. Instead, you’ll see them in Ringtones + Sounds in Settings, under a new Custom category we’ve created.

Introducing new built-in rings

So far I’ve talked about how you’ll be able to get more custom ringtones on your phone. But in Mango we’ve added 9 new native Microsoft ringtones. So out of the box you’ll hear some fresh sounds inspired by the various traditions in the new Asian markets we’ll be supporting this fall.

The ringtones—which have names like Spring and Willow—were composed by our in-house ethnomusicologist and sound designer, Matt Bennett, who was inspired by pottery, calligraphy, and tapestry from China, Japan, and Korea. (Matt’s approach to sound design is a blog topic on its own!)

Like all the sounds in Windows Phone, the new ringtones are designed to complement and harmonize with our visual design. If you were to hear one, it should just “feel” like a Windows Phone.

As you can see, we take sound design pretty seriously here. We hope you like what you hear!

Alice Luu, Program Manager, Windows Phone Engineering

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  • drvax
    1 Posts

    so can we get custom alerts also...


  • How do I get Mango Apps on my HD? I've reviewed 10 reports and not one tells me how

    to get Mango Beta... Please advice... I know this phone ROCKS... but right now it's like a rock as in a paperweight.

  • Geoff
    3 Posts

    I got my HTC HD7 in November assuming I could do this simple little task since this is a better phone than blackberry, I was wrong. Glad its coming but how long will I do we have to wait? Fall or Summer 2011 is tooooo vague a release date. Is there anything concrete? Copy & paste wasn't something I wanted or was hoping for like everything that is coming in Mango. Who voted for that to begin with?

  • Marcellus
    12 Posts

    Also One thing i'd like to see are more different accent colors for ones theme.

  • Why the heck do we have to wait til the fall? and yes why wasn't this already added into the fray?

    Another question I have that I hope will be looked into is that I can hardly ever hear my phone when I get a text/voice call/Calender notification, It's so quiet that I can barely ever get my notifications! Can this be turned up alot more? I also find myself using the Speakerphone alot when I make calls because the volume just isn't loud enough. Can this be turned up somehow?

    Pictures, why aren't my settings saved? I find it terribly annoying that I have to adjust the "Anti-Shaking" and "Wide Dynamic Range" everytime I want to take a picture! This is terrible!

  • Marcellus
    12 Posts

    I didn't really care for the custom ring tones i didn't see it as a problem. But i'm glad your listening to peoples request and i wouldn't mind custom ring tones. Its good to see your making WP7 even more flexible. I'm a little excited for the new ring tones. the others were so good :)

  • Michael
    1 Posts

    @Alice - Thanks for giving me that tip.  @Paul Man - I agree with him, we need to have the ability to drop files directly on the device as a mass storage device.  I hope MSFT will consider this.  Windows Phone Team, if want to be better than any of the other phones combined, please give us the full functions of the phone and make it more usable.

  • Any chance of getting the Form to allow more than single-line comments?

  • So what about notifications? Do we get custom notifications too? Are you revamping notifications so that you can control the volume of those separately from the music volume??

  • Why would microsoft put out a phone that can not be a mass storage device? they are trying to beat the andriod phone right? or are they just trying to copy the apple Iphone that has this same problem?

  • Cant wait... everytime I try to login to any web based microsoft website all i get is a blank white browser screen! you would think microsoft logins would work in I.E. mobile... but they dont for me :(

  • @Michael The Genre field in Zune doubles as a drop-down and an input field. Just type in "ringtone" (no quotes). Once you have at least one thing in your collection with the genre "ringtone", it'll show up in the drop-down list.

  • Michael
    1 Posts

    Being a developer, I have the mango update but there is no option in Zune to change the Genre to RINGTONE.  When I use the dropdown (shown in her example) it is missing from the list.  Is this not available to developers doing the beta test?  Or what do I need to do in order to get this option to show up?

  • @Alice Luu

    Thanks for reply. Yes it is definitely better than nothing. :)

    But at least if file size limit and duration limit can be removed, by WP automatically truncating mp3 that might be helpful. Otherwise user has to install and use some MP3 Splitter program to do the same task then use Zune to set ring tone. Geeks like me can do that but consumers?!!

    I hope some app will come to do that task later atleast.

  • Wow! Thanks for all of your comments guys!

    At a high level:

    a. It's great to hear that some people are looking forward for this feature! While of course…

    b. I am aware that the feature is far from perfect. You guys have great questions and points, and want better. And I, really, want to give you guys better! This is only Mango, and we (Windows Phone) are not done yet.

    Here are some responses, but apologies if I missed a couple of questions or didn't respond to everyone.

    @garymoncrieff thanks for the suggestion! We wanted to avoid profiles to keep managing sounds simple. But

    we've heard feedback that the volume control is tooo limiting. So it is definitely something we'll try to address in the future.

    @bobcatridge wow! thanks for sharing that specific scenario with us!

    Unfortunately, the capability to override the user's ringer setting won't be possible in Mango. But thanks for providing a situation where the ability to override the ringer state might be useful.

    @mparson79 I totally hear you! Trust that the solution that we came up with for Mango was the result of a lot of investigation around a number of solutions. This 'solution' is far from perfect. I just hope that this is a small step on the way to a better solution to come.

    @Rafael Rivera 194 ringtone managers?? Where?? :) I would be so happy if there was even a12 ringtone managers! In all seriousness, we looked a number of possible solutions. This solution isn't perfect at meeting the needs of end-users, but we do hope to improve it going forward.

    @Koki.v3 It was not specifically my idea to have one volume for everything in the system (actually, there are two volumes. One for in-call and one for everything else ;)). Yet as owner of it now, I own receiving all the feedback for it. :) Feedback noted and we're looking to make volume control better going forward!

    @Hawk Thanks for the sugar! Trust that the right people (though I'm not one of them) are working on that issue!

    @rono re: looping of ringtones. What is your ring/vibrate settings? There should be small pauses… but they shouldn't be annoying… So thanks for the feedback. ;)

    @cyberdrop There is no change with the ringtone volume control between 7 and Mango. But we've heard lots of feedback in the area of volume control, so we're looking into improving the experience.

    @w1ngnut There will be an option of configuring snooze time for appointments! For alarms we're trying to cater to the majority case, which is 'wake up' alarms. Hence, it may be a bit too much to have the user select a snooze value. Granted, there are valuable scenarios where an Alarm is used and more granularity for the snooze time would be helpful. It's something we're aware of!

    @Korn1699 The Alarm sound should run for awhile… like 4-6 minutes. But we know Alarms should be dependable, and we're looking to see how we can make it better.

    @BobcatRidge @PatchMonkey  Sorry! You won't be able to *just* make emails (or SMS) vibrate. =\  (new emails or SMS can vibrate if you give them an alert tone and then put your phone into vibrate, but that probably isn't what you meant!) However, more flexibility in sound/alert/notification customization is something we're looking at.

    @Yehia Hassan @IAMPS3 Yes! Yes you can! Even right now you can go view your contact's contact card (e.g., Launch the People hub, tap on the contact in your contact list), tap the edit button (the pencil) in the app bar, then tap the "+ ringtone"

    @kavazovangel sorry, no WAV files. :(

    @Captiosus wow! Thanks for the critical response! I can't say much to justify the decisions that we made. Just that we did what we could with the limitations we had. I hope that this feature brings joy to those who couldn't add more unique and personal ringtones to the phone. But you certainly brought up a lot of good points (e.g., the Zune Software, the extra work on the user, etc). We're definitely not done with our ringtone story :)

    @Razor Thanks for sharing your observation Razor (and for the link!). Which phone do you have? My guess is that the 'bug' you're experiencing is due to the hardware, but it'll be something I look into with our OEM partners.

    @JoelL Sorry, there are no new SMS sounds or SMS sound customizations in Mango.  :( Definitely something we'll look into for the future. Feel free to insert #lame hashtags.

    @Krush To clarify, the Zune software will not "cut" your tracks. The Zune software will serve as a mechanism to transfer files that meet the ringtone criteria. (Hope I didn't pop any heart strings.)

    @Chirag Joshi @namesake x3 @ZoNoMo @arrow22 @Sogeman et al. Sorry to make it seem more complicated than it should be. I am painfully aware that this isn't perfect. Better than nothing? Maybe? :) ...No? :( Trust that if I could have made it easier, I would have! And if I can make it better in the future, I will!

    @Matt Yes you can have a custom ringtone for your wife, and one for everyone else.

    @Dark jedi Email/sms/alerts won't be customizable in mango unfortunately. But I do hear your feedback and will be something we look at for the future.

    @mreams13 Good news and bad news. Good news: Alarms will be able to use custom ringtones! Bad news: 3rd party apps (like the Stopwatch app) won't be able to leverage your custom ringtones. However, thanks for the feedback, and we're always looking at ways to make things better!

  • Hmmm, wonder if my post got eaten too. :(

  • Is there a legal reason why we won't be able to just select a song in our music collection as our ringtone? I could do this even on my crappy old BlackBerry. :( Seems to be a lot of work for minimal gain.

  • I have a question about custom ring-tones and sounds; Will the Alarms app allow you to use these custom sounds? I ask this because the current sounds wouldn't wake up the lightest sleeping Keebler Elf. Can we adjust the volume?

    I also wanted to know if the custom sounds will be allowed to use for the Stopwatch app. The timer portion is completely useless because it doesn't give an audible alarm. I've used my other phone made by a funny, fruity company as an egg timer. It throws up a loud, air-raid-siren-like, 300dB noise.

    Cheers and thanks for listening.

  • KR
    503 Posts

    BTW,what mak´s some comments to be treated as spam?

  • KR
    503 Posts

    @Michael Stroh,thanks but i still don´t see my comment i just tried reposting it and it still didn´t show up i tried posting a new comment to no avail

  • Sam
    2 Posts

    That's great but would like to see remove the restrictions too.

  • Captiosus
    103 Posts

    Oops, I see it did put my HTML link from earlier up in the comments. Sorry, I'm a moron.

    Still not letting me post comments larger than a few lines though.

  • Captiosus
    103 Posts

    @Michael Stroh - Thanks for looking into it but it's still not allowing me to post my wall-of-text comment or even a HTML link to said wall-of-text comments saved elsewhere.

  • Sogeman
    51 Posts

    Size and time limitations? Are we in the early 2000s? I'm using whole mp3 files right now thanks to the Chevron Ringtone app...

  • stefan00
    11 Posts

    Good to hear what Mango brings in the future.

    But can you say what do you improve at the BACKGROUND of the system, like more stability, more colours (32 bit?) etc.

    I also NEED VPN for my business. Please don't forget it ;-)

  • arrow22
    50 Posts

    The fact that you'll need to post a tutorial on how to add songs as ring tones tells me you've missed your target. The majority of customers will find the task of shortening and renaming songs too daunting. Is there really a reason why a user couldn't go to the settings page, select a track from their collection and have the phone shrink and rename it as a ring tone?

  • Hawk
    61 Posts

    Michael...is there a reason why the comment column is short by about 3-4 characters?  The column size needs to be increased.  For example, your last post looks like this..."Apparently many your comments"...  The work OF is not visible due to the column width.  Can this be fixed?  Thanks

  • ZoNoMo
    1 Posts

    i have to say that i am shocked so many people think this is a good implementation.  39 seconds, less than1 MB, no DRM.  Haven't you just eliminated my ENTIRE Zune library?  I have 2400 songs in my lib and this tells me I cant use a single one as a ring tone.  Why is this such a great news?

  • OK, everyone, I've figured out the commenting problem. Apparently many of your comments were swept up in the gravitational pull of our spam filter. I've freed them. I'll keep an eye on it from now on to try and prevent your comments from going missing again. Sorry!

  • It can be improved. In My Nok  phone I can select any mp3 in my SD Card or memory as ringtone.

    No limitations. No need for PC. No need to truncate. I can select separate ring tone for  each contacts. Why Windows phone cant do similar thing? Just a thought.

  • The limit of  39 secs, 1 MB or Zune is required to set custom ring tones is not so good. Can be improved.

    In My Nok  phone I can select any mp3 in my SD Card or memory as ringtone.

    No limitations. No need for PC. No need to truncate.

    I can select separate ring tone for  each contacts. Why Windows phone cant do life easier? Just a thought.

  • @namesake et al. Sorry you're you're having trouble posting your comments. I've asked the folks who manage the blogging platform to investigate ASAP....

  • I have posted mycomments 3 times. They are not appearing here. :(

  • I do not really care much about the ringtones since most of my communication is via email/sms/alerts etc. Will these sounds also be customizable? The fact that you can not customize these is what I find one of the most annoying omissions on Phone 7.

  • Matt
    3 Posts

    Will you be able to have multiple custom ringtones?  one for the wife, one for friend, etc?

  • Krush You
    94 Posts

    39 seconds is just fine, a minute is ridiculous - no one needs to hear song samples of what music you like

  • Matt
    3 Posts

    Is it possible to have multiple custom ringtones?  LIke if i wanted one for my wife, and one for general calls?

  • Just 39 seconds? One minute will be nice, but 39 seconds...

  • Robert
    4 Posts

    Finally, Microsofts get off the pot.  I can't wait. bring on Mango!!!

  • Do we have an option of editing the phone number while making calls in mango? for instance i recieved a text message from +65XXXXXXXX, tap on it i can't call it back with +65 in it.. i have to remove it.. now to remove it i use paper pen?

  • FINALLY! But wow, this should have seriously been there at launch. Luckily, I was able to add some custom ones unofficially using ChevronWP7 while I had the chance.

  • Actually this implementation is complex than existing Nokia smart phones (Even in feature phones). I am specially mentioning it because Nokia is expecting to use WP7.5 and all its customers to buy windows phone than symbian.

    It is supirior in following ways.

    * You can select any Mp3 song stored in memory or SD card as ring tome.

    * No limit on duration

    * No limit on size (Or at least 5-6MB song works)

    * You can set separate ring tone for each contacts.

    Now do you expect users to connect to PC and use zune to setup custom ringtones! At least 39 seconds duration limit should not exist. Let WP truncate the mp3 to 45 - 60 seconds automatically, instead users struggling to figure out how to truncate MP3.

  • I am so excited for this!

  • This is great! Finally Custom rings!!! But why the caveats??? I should just be able to select  any of the song in my Zune and just add it to ringtones! Simple as that. The phone should automatically just play the first 39 secs and repeat!

  • Great, now where's my NoDo update? (hint: Samsung Focus on AT&T)

  • Captiosus
    103 Posts

    Ok, getting tired of it not accepting my posts so here it is in HTML.


  • Krush You
    94 Posts

    @topleya - you'll be able to make the rington in the zune software - virus/spyware free :D

  • Joel L.
    0 Posts

    I'm very excited about everything coming in the Mango update, especially with the custom ringtones. My question is, will we be able to change our SMS (text message) tone? I'm honestly not very happy with the current stock ones. Thanks for the information!

  • 39 seconds?! My ring tone is Nyan Cat (http;//wwww.Nyan.Cat) LoL, xD ... Just kidding.

    Finally! More user customization. I can't wait, I want Mango now! Haha! :D

  • THAT is innovative implementation! Worth the wait, most definitely. <3

  • Finally!  This is great news.  This is one of those features that my friends all keep saying should be a slam dunk feature that all smart phones should have.  Not really playing the game without it.  So now we will.  Very excited about this and all the other features coming with Mango!!!

  • Razor
    53 Posts


    Being in charge of the sound experience, can you speak to the white noise many of us hear when any sound is being played on the phone. It's a quiet yet annoying hiss that occurs during any sound (music, radio, games...) and persists for about a second after. This happens on a variety of handsets, but with the hardware being similar across those handsets I'm not sure if it is a problem with the OS or the sound hardware itself. A graphic equalizer would at least give us some control to reduce the noise.

    This is just one of many posts on the subject: forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php

    My phone's sound quality is worse than my old feature phone =(

  • Captiosus
    103 Posts

    I give up trying to post it, so here; I just pasted it in Word 2010 and saved it as a HTML file and uploaded it to my personal web space from my ISP.


  • What about WAV quality?

  • Would it possible to only have vibrate for certain functions such as SMS etc?

  • Entegy
    42 Posts

    Well, I already have my text tone and ring tone ready! Now just bring on the Mango!

  • KR
    503 Posts

    @Captiosus,Yeah we are,i've tried on my WP IEmobile,IE9 and chrome on my PC to no avail :(

  • Captiosus
    103 Posts

    @Kenny - Sounds like we're suffering the same problem. :(

  • KR
    503 Posts

    @Michael,I give up i'll try again later since its not going through now even after modifying the post

  • Captiosus
    103 Posts

    Well, since my longwinded post won't go through, apparently, if it eventually shows up 4 times or so, you'll want to delete all the duplicates.

  • topleya
    2 Posts

    Very nice, could now do with a free program that isn't full of spyware & malware that will help me make these 39second long mp3's

  • This is exciting. I will be using this feature extensively. I wish this was in the first release of WP7.

  • Captiosus
    103 Posts

    I'd love to post my thoughts, but apparently the feedback form won't let me post anything in either Firefox OR MSIE 9. (Now watch it let this go through, making a liar out of me.)

  • @ Kenny: I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

  • KR
    503 Posts

    whenever i try to post as first comment it never shows up for me

  • KR
    503 Posts

    @Michael Stroh,sorry for that,but the comment i am actually trying to post is very constructive,thats what drove me crazy and i just posted the above comment thinking it was going not to show up as the comment i am actually trying to post

  • drankurn
    42 Posts

    I definitely wasn't using any offensive words, although i did change my post after trying to post it couple of times.

  • @Kenny: Not sure, Kenny. We don't typically censor posts--unless you use words like "damm". ;-)

  • drankurn
    42 Posts

    happened to me couple of times the other day, the only thing different about it was that it was the first comment on that blog post.

  • IAMPS3
    0 Posts

    Will you be able to set custom ringtones for individual contact records?

  • KR
    503 Posts

    for some damm reason some of my comments don't get posted,though it tells me it has been posted.can someone explain please?

  • Can I choose a ringtone for each contact...?

  • This is great! I was trying to add a ringtone yesterday and couldn't do it. I'm also really impressed by Matt's work and look forward to hearing him on the podcast.

  • Nice job!  Will there be a vibrate ring tone so that I can make all emails vibrate?

  • @drankurn: Eric H. is back in the house and will have that honor tomorrow morning. :-)

    Everybody else: Just a heads up that Alice left today for a much-deserved vacation--so I'll collect some of your questions and either tackle them myself or have someone on her team provide some answers this week.

  • The one thing I want! Goign to read this now. Thanks for this, there hasn't been a lot of articles covering this based upon pre-release mango patches. Nice one WP Team!

  • Korn1699
    114 Posts

    Are the alarms in mango going to be better?  They seem to not run for that long right now.  It would be nice to have them not stop if the phone was plugged in.  There have been a few times that I manage to sleep through it.  I didn't during off the alarm in my sleep because the notification is still there when I do eventually wake up.  It is just really bad when you have to be somewhere..like work...  I do have alarm clocks I use as backup now though..

  • drankurn
    42 Posts

    Micheal -

    Are you going to update us on the updates (:D) tomorrow, I see that you usually do that on Wednesdays ?

  • w1ngnut
    25 Posts

    Yay, nice! And Alice, since you manage alarms and alerts, why not an option to configure snooze time for an alarm or an appointment? That would be great to have implemented in Mango.

  • @candlesayshi: Matt is a VERY interesting dude. The good news: He's scheduled to be a guest on our podcast, WIndows Phone Radio this week. So tune in if you want to know more!

  • Will the ringtones have separate volume control?

  • rono
    5 Posts

    Sounds great.

    I have 2 question:

    - Why 39 seconds?

     I have a few of them over 2 minutes long, on WM 6.5.  :-)

    - Does Mango loop well?

     WM leaves an annoying gap of a fraction of a second,

     and the loop effect misses.

  • Hawk
    61 Posts

    What I would rather hear is that you take fixing the Focus rev1.4 issues "pretty seriously here" rather than worrying about ringtones.  Please get us Focus rev1.4 owners updates and a guarantee that the rev1.4 phones will receive the Mango update!  Pretty please with sugar on top!

  • Sweet.

  • Koki.v3
    2 Posts

    This is great, but I gotta ask, as a program manager for the “sound experience”, was it your idea to introduce just one volume for everything in the system? We NEED separate volume settings for ringtones, alerts and media!

  • Sorry, but I'm not a fan of having 194 ringtone managers on the marketplace and having to carefully pick one for use. Why isn't this baked in?

  • great news

  • "(Matt’s approach to sound design is a blog topic on its own!)"

    As an electronic musician, I would love to hear this. :D

  • I think these improvements will be well received however i really think you guys need to make it easier to set a favourite music track as a ringtone through zune or on the phone. The software should automatically work out which tracks are appropriate based on your criteria i.e. length, size etc and help the user do it otherwise you'll scare off 90% of the average users. Editing song info and setting the genre does not go far enough.

  • Sound Alerts for a specific email sender?

    I have an opportunity to convert our Facilities department over to WP7 but I have one requirement that I have not figured out a way to do.  We have an automated system that monitors various mechanical systems at our facility that send emails out to employees when there is a problem that needs immediate attention.

    The basic email sound alerts work great during the day, but at night the employees would like to silence their phone so that they are not disturbed when non-urgent (junk) email is delivered.  Then, when an email from a specific sender (our automated system) is received the phone would override the ringer setting and play a sound.

    Will this capability be built in to Mango?


    PS: I was able to do this on my Windows Mobil 6.1 phone via a 3rd party add-on.

  • Adnan
    17 Posts

    This is a real good news! It is must have feature that fell short but yeah Mango seems the perfect Windows Phone now :D

  • Excellent!

  • Hell Yeah!

  • Hi Alice

    Thanks for the post and providing more information on this point. Not strictly related to ringtones but one of the biggest gripes I have with WP is the alerts, one volume setting for all etc. I am a Symbian convert and this was one area I loved about symbian. I had an app that tied into the calendar app and gps position which would auto adjust the 'profile' without any intervention from me.

    Any chance of seeing this flexibility within WP in the future?