Update 11/23/2009: I now have an env3 phone and I can say that the worst steps below are no longer an issue. If you put a file on a microSD card and plug that into the phone, the interface menu will immediately let you set it as a sound or ringtone. Verizon is moving in the correct direction in terms of no longer making stupid restrictions.
I recently upgraded my phone through my cell provider, Verizon. I picked up a nice LG enV2 (VX9100). As expected with Verizon, based on my previous RAZR experiences, getting one’s own ringtones on the phone takes some effort. But so far it is at least possible.
I was able to get my own files set as ringtones on my phone by using a microSD card to get the files from my computer to the phone. Then I texted them to myself so I could save it into ringtones. I’m sure this can be done via Bluetooth or a direct USB link, but this is the method I chose.
1. Pick up a microSD card and USB card reader. I chose a $14 set from Newegg.
2. Insert the microSD card into the phone’s microSD slot (really!). Note: Be careful where and how you do this. The card insertion pretty much requires the use of fingernails, and the spring mechanism to eject the card is quite happy to shoot it out if you slip while pushing it in.
3. On the phone choose Menu, 9. Settings & Tools, 9. Memory, 3. Card Memory, Options, Format. This will format the card, and it will also place some folders on it for My Sounds, My Videos, etc. I’m sure these are not special and can be created by hand, but I’ve not done extensive testing.
4. Remove the microSD card from the phone (carefully!), put it into the USB card reader, and insert it into the computer’s USB slot. This should come up like any other USB drive and be immediately accessible and writable.
5. Copy the desired files to the card. I used the My Sounds folder. The file format can be .wav or .mp3, and whatever else the phone will play, I’m sure. I used .wav.
6. Reinsert the microSD card into the phone.
7. On the phone choose Menu, 9. Settings & Tools, 9. Memory, 3. Card Memory, 5. My Sounds and verify the phone sees the files. This actually didn’t work right away for me the first time, but after a few minutes they showed up just fine. Since then it has been instant.
8. From the start screen now (hit END), choose Menu, 5. Media Center, 1. Music & Tones, 5. My Sounds, highlight your file (they should show up and you can see they have a different icon when accessed from the card), choose Options, 1. Send. Now you’re about to send it as a text. Choose Add or put in your phone number, put in some text, and send away!
9. Hopefully in a few moments the text will arrive. Once received and opened, choose Options, 4. Save As Ringtone.
The rest is basic from there!