Will Google + Arduino Open Hardware Kill The iOS Music Juggernaut?

android arduino usbLong-time readers know that, for better or for worse, we’ve been talking about the way iPhones and iPads are going to be major new platforms for electronic music from day one.

Our coverage of mobile devices has focused primarily on iOS because Apple was the vendor making the right decisions, for the time, to create a viable mass-market mobile music platform. And until now, other platform vendors have been focusing too much effort on trying to imitate Apple’s success and not enough effort on leapfrogging Apple and doing something truly original.

But at this year’s Google I/O event at Moscone Center in San Francisco, Google made an announcement that has the potential to trigger a new explosion of mobile music making innovation. Google announced the Android Open Accessory Kit, a standard for connecting USB peripherals to Android mobile devices that is based on the open source Arduino hardware standard.

If that’s a lot of technical mumbo jumbo to you, here’s how it breaks down:

  • There are about 100 million activated devices based on Google’s Android platform. These are mostly mobile phones.
  • People are using 200,000 Arduino devices. Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on hardware and software. It’s designed for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
  • The Arduino is already very popular with music hackers, who’ve created Arduino music sequencers, Arduino synths and Arduino MIDI controllers.

So – if you want to make a custom musical instrument or music controller and use a cheap Android device for the “brain”, Google’s trying to make it easy for you.

Bottom line – Google is betting that unrestricted development and natural selection are going to lead to a more dynamic platform than Apple’s walled garden approach.

Will Google, Android + Arduino Kill The iOS Music Juggernaut?

Open hardware advocate Phillip Torrone argues that Google’s decision to adopt an open platform for peripherals is going to force Apple to be more open with developers.

He predicts:

  • Google will have a “Kinect-style” surge of creativity for the Android + Arduino;
  • Apple will start to abandon their restrictive “Made for iPod” program and adopt the Arduino in some way for accessory development; and
  • Microsoft/Nokia/Skype are likely paying attention to all this, and they should look at the Netduino for their accessory development for Windows Phone 7.

While I agree that the Android + Arduino combination is important, I’m less convinced that Google’s support for Arduino is going to make Apple shift gears anytime soon.

Torrone ignores that fact that Google’s Android + Arduino combination is a double-edge sword:

  • On the positive side, it lets anyone develop for the platform.
  • On the negative side, it lets anyone develop for the platform.

In other words, Android users are going to have a huge selection of options to choose from, but most of them will be craptacular. The last thing Apple is worried about is getting more crappy iPhone peripherals.

What do you think of Google’s decision to use Arduino as a platform for USB peripherals? Will it kickstart Android as an electronic music platform?

Android + Arduino Resources

If you’d like to check out the possibilities of Google’s Android + Arduino platform, here are some resources:

46 thoughts on “Will Google + Arduino Open Hardware Kill The iOS Music Juggernaut?

  1. Apple's audience is like people who buy sleek cars with lots of bells and whistles. Android's audience is like people who buy a car mostly for what it does & where they have the option of tinkering under the hood if they so desire. I don't think either platform will dominate but Android will catch up, we'll continue to see innovations and creative solutions on both platforms.

  2. Right now, the biggest reason Android is unusable for music is the crippling latency. Is this development going to end that?

  3. I don’t like the way this story and Synthtopia in general always talk about how ‘the iPad’ is changing the way we make music etc. ‘ooh the iPad, ooh the iPad, blah blah’:-)

    What (I think) you should be writing is how the new wave of (relatively) cheap touch screen technology (on various formats) is changing the way we interact with our music applications.

    At the end of the day iPads, iPhones, and the like are just computers with a touchscreen. They can’t make sounds that my Mac (or PC!) can’t make. They all run similar operating systems, use the same dsp chips, etc. The sound coming out that mini jack at the end of the day can be made on any device.

    The thing what’s unique about them is the interaction with the software and so I see them as purely a cool performance tool. Will that create any new and exciting music? I personally don’t think so but are happy to be proved wrong. 🙂

    1. Andy

      Good comments.

      To discuss this only in abstracted terms and not focus on the iPad or Android devices, though, would simply be less practical for readers. The iOS platform has tremendous momentum, both in terms of music apps and peripheral support. Android is catching up and this move could make things much more interesting.

      As to whether mobile devices wil create new and exciting music? It's the musicians, not the tools.

    2. To give credit for all these changes to "touch screens" would be a big misunderstanding of what is really going on. The screen itself is nothing but an open door. Apple created a friendly, stable and affordable ecosystem for software developers to create new apps on, and users embraced them because there are also so many other benefits of using that platform than just music! Without that structured "nudge", none of this would be happening, and the Droid wouldn't even exist.

      Also don't forget we've had touch screen devices for years. Any mobile phone developer had around a decade to do what Apple did, but didn't. Devices like the Wacom Cintiq have been around for many years, but they did little more than offer an expensive alternative to what we were already using on desktops. If you look around, there are tons of examples of touch screen devices that use poor/limited designs. Hell, I even used fast-food self serve touch screen kiosks as far back as the mid-90s!

      It's not the tech that revolutionizes things, it's the people who use it for specific purposes.

    3. The touchscreen is the big deal here, not the iAnything.
      Apple added spice and business muscle to popularize it (what the Lemur couldn't) and make the whole package very accessible.
      Until now, mouse input reduced the entire human body to a single index finger, and a pretty stiff and shaky one at that.
      Multi-finger touch opens fairly cheap systems for a new level of expressivity.

      MIDI peripherals have been around, but only as personal tools, not as user platform.
      Anyone can buy and work with them, but a developer cannot require an end user to have a certain piece of hardware around.

      MIDI tools are also somewhat crude in most implementations. It's a shame if touch screens don't evolve to surpass that. Presently the sensitivity is not really good enough though.

  4. "In other words, Android users are going to have a huge selection of options to choose from, but most of them will be craptacular."

    I think you may be missing the point here. There are two different hardware options here:

    1. An Arduino-based solution that makes it convenient to prototype devices. This almost certainly *won't* be used for shipping devices. The same protocols work across phones and tablets, though, which makes it easier to make certain accessories.

    2. There's an *actual* USB host implementation, finally, that's for now only on tablets. This is the one I'm actually more excited about. For one thing – despite what Phil implies in that article – there's no reason you can't make a USB class-compliant device as a DIYer. It'd also then work with Windows and Mac.

    I don't agree that this will have any impact on the amount of "crap" for the platform. Made for iPod resulted in loads of crap – just crap with logos on it, like the infamous "Nintendo Seal of Quality" back in the day. This isn't really any different than the accessories for PCs and Macs, etc. And unlike many of those devices, because the accessories have to follow USB standards, you don't have lots of proprietary drivers to work with.

    But I don't expect this to have any particular impact on iOS music apps. USB class-compliant *audio* is actually the biggest development here for the viability for tablets, and the ability to do MIDI – I'll be using that in my work. But iOS already has both MIDI and audio, also using USB classes – something most people missed in the Apple vs. Android comparisons here because, unlike us, they probably don't know about it. 😉

    And the iOS development juggernaut isn't really about hardware to begin with…

    I can only look at my own work. For me, it improves the viability of Android, though it still doesn't resolve ongoing complaints we have about the way the audio APIs work.

  5. Open platforms have never revolutionized anything. Focused platforms and standards allow both developers and users to grow trust and lasting value. Also, the iOS has already won the race. It's too far ahead, and the critical mass is already invested in that market. The best apps, with very rare exception, will always be on iOS, even if they are also on Android. And iOS users choose the iPhone, they don't stumble into it blindly, so putting the same functionality on both platforms will not prompt many changes.

    Finally, don't forget that the iOS users represent the cream of the crop in app purchasing audience… most Android users are looking for a cheaper device, not "more functionality". They buy an app to check the weather and an app to check sports and then stop, all the while raving about how their Droid does everything the iPhone does. In converse, the average iPhone user is a fairly voracious app purchaser, and experiments with a lot more disposable income.

  6. at namm last year, i asked a couple software cos. why they didnt make their stuff for android. they said the early version of android os, had no provision to run apps without large latency issues, and no io would fix that. the newer versions of a-os, will address this issue, and i am one who is looking forward to seeing an android device that will run music apps with as close to zero latency.

    and from what is see at the google io conference, this will be soon!….

  7. Not going to happen IMO.

    First; while Google is always very quick to use words like "open", "freedom" and of course "do no evil", the facts show a rather different picture. For example; the latest Andoid version is 3.0 yet this branch of the source code is not being distributed right now. And all thanks to a (disputable) loophole in the open source license they're using. So the whole "closed Apple" vs. "open Google" isn't something you can really compare in a black/white fashion like that. Apple removing applications from their store "just like that?". Same has happened with Android.

    Second I dare say that in many cases open source software ("OOS") maybe a good alternative, but when it comes to more specific topics I don't see it happening any longer. At least not in ways where it will also attract a large user base. Reasons for that are numerous; the most obvious ones being that a good developer ('coder') doesn't have to be a good GUI designer. And a good GUI designer doesn't have to be a good musician. And a good musician doesn't have to be a good sound designer.

    The best proof for this is IMO Max. It started out years ago and at one point an open source version got "branched" after which we had 2 different products. One Max version which was completely open and free of use, the other which was licensed and later got commercially exploited.

    Right now both projects still live. The free version is Pure Data, to be found here: http://puredata.info/

    The commercial version, Max (/MSP/Jitter), can be found here: http://cycling74.com/products/maxmspjitter/

    I've tried and used both products quite intensively and although there is no denying that PD is a product which has a lot of potential it is also severely lacking when it comes to regions as documentation, examples and ease of use in general (obviously this is also some personal preference, but patching in PD is by far as easy as it is in Max).

    Another (quick) example? Mac OS X's interface is applauded and cheered on by many of its users. I have no in depth hands on experiences but have witnessed and toyed with it for a few times. And yes; it certainly looks and feels very solid IMO.

    Now take a look at what is currently available as a desktop environment on Linux. You have KDE, Gnome, WindowMaker, XFCE, fvwm, etc. All good products, all have their strengths and weaknesses yet none of them can really approach what is available in, say, Windows 7 or Mac OS X. Note: "I can do everything I used to do in Windows" doesn't count here. Esp. when you're an adept Linux user. Its about what a common user can or cannot do.

    So no, I don't see this happening. They may manage to set something up, they may attract a share of believers and fans and people who enjoy working with it all, but I don't see them reaching the current high quality state where Apple is in when it comes to sound engines /and/ user interface.

  8. This is an interesting announcement, given the groundswell of movement toward standards by Google. Google has to "standardize" in order to become anything other than a mess-fest like we had in the old Windows 95 days, which is what they need to do to attract more serious app development. For quick examples:

    A common app development problem on Android: Android fragmentation hinders Netflix video app rollout http://www.fiercemobilecontent.com/story/android-

    And stuff like this popping up everywhere lately:
    Google Bullies OEMs Over What Can And Can’t Appear On Android Devices http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2011/05/12/google-bul

  9. Actually, there's a hell of lot more going on with the Cintiq than you state. I don't think most consumer touch screen tech offers the same levels of touch sensitivity as the cintiq….2048 to be exact, and thus the price tag. Just a 3d professional nitpicking. 🙂

  10. Thanks Peter, you continue to be a voice of reason. When are you going to write a cash-grab book and let CDM languish?? It's the new-media way 😉

  11. Wait, let me get this straight – Android will fail because it's an open source project, and fail because it's not?

    Pd is not a "branch" of Max. It's a ground-up tool written after Max by Max's original author (Miller Puckette.) The two have exchanged code, coding practices, and externals.

    It's not fair any more to ding Pd on documentation – not with extensive sample patches and code, free online manuals, and more. It's just not true. Now, maybe Pd extended needs to do a better job of advertising where they are, but while Max has good documentation, Pd is I think at this point actually better documented.

    I don't think you can cherry pick a couple of UIs you like and then make blanket assumptions about Android versus iOS or open source versus proprietary software – least of all when, as you point out, even open source goes beyond licensing and can be a relative issue. Design is design, whatever the license.

    And none of this has to do with the topic at hand, hardware I/O.

  12. Actually.. Max was written by, as you said, Mr. Puckette. I didn't say PD was a branch of Max, I said it got "branched". In other words: before IRCAM came up with a concurrent version in '89 (which later got licensed and so on) there was 1 "Max product" which in a way got split in two. One commercial, one open sourced. Now when looking at both products 10 years later the difference are IMO huge.

    As to documentation… I'm not merely talking about manuals here; anyone can do that. Example: open a PD project, control-1 and you end up with an Object. Now; what can go into the object? No code completion, the help screen is no use (right-click & 'help' on an empty object gets you the help window for comments) and as such you have little other options than to skim the manual. Which tells you "For a list of all the objects you can use in Pd, see the text file, "0.INTRO.txt" in the directory, "../5.reference".".

    In Max otoh I create a new object and either start typing (code completion) or hoover my mouse over the front; an '=' appears and after clicking I'll get a pop up menu showing me all the available objects, neatly divided by category.

    Its not merely about the availability of documentation, its also how you present it.

    And well, I think my comments are in every aspect ontopic, I simply address a whole different aspect of "open standards". Just opening something up does not automatically imply that you'll end up with high quality products for it. Whether this is hardware or software (like the X "GUI layer" for example) makes little difference IMO.

  13. "Right now, the biggest reason Android is unusable for music is the crippling latency. Is this development going to end that?"

    …and yet I made a pretty good all android album.

    Apparently latency issues have been addressed by both Google and hardware makers, so once you upgrade to a newer device and more developers optimize for newer versions of Android it won't be a problem. You can still get plenty done right now with Android apps, although there's no all-in-one solution like beatmaker or garageband.

  14. I'm not sure if I understand your perspective, Peter.

    I'm not a Android user at this point, but this announcement had me interested because of the idea that anyone that understood Arduino could now connect custom projects to Android phones.

    This seems like it opens the doors to doing a lot of cool, strange stuff that may only ever appeal to a small audience.

    Is there a way to do something similar with iPhones or iPads?

  15. No, sorry, I should clarify —

    If you're interested in connecting a USB audio interface or MIDI device, YES, you can do that with iOS (via the USB Audio and MIDI classes, respectively)

    If you want to connect custom sensors and hardware, you can do it with iOS, but not easily – and you can't sell or share it.

    If you want to connect, say, a USB joystick, you can't do that with iOS, either.

    So, Android does two things iOS doesn't:
    1. It opens up more USB classes via the USB host implementation, right now only on Honeycomb.
    2. It opens up the possibility of custom hardware without doing your own USB host implementation on a greater range of devices, provided they're updated to the 2.3.4 OS (which hasn't happened yet, but will), or on Honeycomb.

    I'm just framing the question differently than this story does, though, in I don't think there's a direct relationship of that to audio and music apps, even though we'll do some cool stuff with music using this. And I don't think it's about how much "craptacular" hardware there is or not, because I don't believe the Made for iPod program has necessarily resulted in great hardware – sorry.

    Does that make more sense?

  16. Oh, I hear you – no one is going to say they're in love with the UI in Pd, of course! But it's getting better. Code completion is already available as a plugin, and I hope to see it become part of Pd Vanilla.

    And technically, Pd still isn't a branch of Max. It's a redesign. A redesign isn't a branch. That suggests it was forked from Max, which isn't true. It's a rebuild that happens to incorporate, for compatibility, the same dataflow paradigms.

    The documentation problems you're describing *had* been an issue with Max. Cycling did a great job on this in Max 5. It's certainly possible for Pd to make further progress here. I mean in terms of documentation in the sense of free tutorials and manuals; I think you're hard pressed to beat that even with Max there (and Max users could pick up some skills from some of them).

    Anyway, this has nothing to do with the fact that Pd is open source. There are brilliantly-documented open projects. There are very easy-to-use open projects. There are impossible-to-use, poorly documented commercial projects.

    And none of this really has anything to do with the question of the article. Once you start generalizing, you get away from the actual engineering (and writing) that would solve the problems you describe.

  17. Much of the open/closed Google/Apple talk seems like a red herring to me.

    Apple has been grilled for its app review process and for rejecting apps, but when I look at Android I see tons of garbage apps to wade through. I was actually happy last year when Apple started rejecting apps that were just minor variations with different names, because developers were filling up the store with what was basically app store spam.

    I also like not having to worry about loading infected apps onto my phone. This seems like it's been a pretty serious problem with Android.

    I'd like to see it easier to experiment with hardware devices on iOS, though, and easier to build MIDI apps.

    Wouldn't it be cool if there was something like Reaktor that would let you create MIDI apps using modular building blocks? The current level of controller apps are cool but don't offer enough "logic" functions to be as powerful as I'd like.

    I guess you always want what you don't have! I really enjoy some of the current iOS options, but would like to have a way to build more interesting MIDI controllers without having to learning how to program for iOS.

  18. PD and Max are fundamentally/philosophically the same thing. I wouldn't even say redesign, more along the lines of one thing existing in simultaneously in two parallel dimensions. At least that's the vibe I got while learning PD in a college class from Miller Puckette.

    As far as android and arduino vs. ipad. This situation falls under the category Mac vs. PC. I don't think Apple is going go change it's ways much because of this. They don't respond to the market, they create the market for their products. I'm sure similar situations have happened repeatedly throughout Apple's history, and they haven't changed much.

  19. In a word – No.

    I used to have an Android phone but switched to an iPhone after I got an iPad and saw all the music apps that are available. I was like holy sh**!

    I don’t think this announcement is as big a deal as the article makes it out to be. Google made Android to be a cheap knockoff of the iPhone to lock people into using Google’s apps. When it comes to music, people that cheap out on their tools probably aren’t that serious about making music.

    I’m not that impressed with open source music software either. Guys like Peter may love hacking PD code but who listens to this stuff?

    It’s up there with all the noise from the rich Buchlas owners that post all their ‘experimental’ music on YouTube. That might have been experimental when Morton Subotnick did it 40 years ago. But that was the sixties and everybody was probably high. Now it’s just wanking!

    The iPad makes a cool midi controller and works great as a portable multitrack recorder. Most of the other iPhone apps are fun, but not revolutionary.

    There are already to of USB MIDI options for the iPad so this announcement is for the geeks, not for musicians wanting to actually make music.

  20. A good point, but you have to at least concede that an open platform doesn't guarantee innovation, adoption, or success.

  21. Well, I guess we disagree on the PD issue. There is always a difference between OSS and commercial software: the latter tries to please paying customers best as possible. Happy customers makes more income. The same cannot always be said for the latter.

    As to the question of the article; I disagree there too. These same questions have been asked several times with the products I've addressed in my past 2 write ups. "Will the Linux desktop (KDE, Gnome, etc.) kill Windows?", "Will it (linux desktop) compete with OS X?", "Will Linux kill Windows as server?", and so on.

    Fact still remains that although there have been some great open source projects going about which managed to attract quite some attention none have really managed to either remain open or to actually fully replace ("kill") the competition.

    And as said I highly doubt that we'll see something different happening here just because its Google.

    As mentioned in my first comment: a good coder doesn't make a good musician. And quantity doesn't make quality. I know; general statements. But just the kind of issues which OSS has shown us – in general – over the past 20 years now.

    In general OSS works very well. But go into specific details and it'll fail you.

    Why do we have ALSA and OSS (the latter replacing the first) on Linux as sound engines whereas midi support in general is still flakey at best ? After /20 years/ of development ?

    Any good sequencers available on Linux? Hardly. Support for my high-end USB audio card? I think not.

    And can it get any more open than Linux is? Where the source code doesn't become available after the facts but is available right from the moment of release?

    With all that in mind I still say there's little chance that Android will suddenly prevail.

  22. "The Internet" was the example. That wasn't namecalling. The comment itself wouldn't been possible without open platforms (both open standards and almost certainly open source software).

  23. No, but take this case as a case in point – a failure to support open hardware standards or to allow hardware development guarantees failure.

    That cuts both ways. In the case of Google, their initial lack of USB class and USB host support (which is likely to persist on older handsets) meant you couldn't make any hardware – period.

    The whole point is that this allows development where it wasn't possible before. What people do with that development is up to the developers – as always. No argument there.

    But to claim "openness" is itself flawed and hasn't ever done anything is just demonstrably wrong. I can't imagine how the heck you'd even make that argument. I suspect a lot of it comes from people (misinterpreting) Apple's own publicity machine – and even there it doesn't make any sense. On Mac OS, you're using a bundle of hardware and software standards and protocols that have been part of the open PC platform as it's evolved for the past decades, not to mention things that are specifically open source ranging from the kernel and GNU and UNIX stacks up to the WebKit engine that powers the Mac and iOS browsers.

    In music software, we're less reliant on these kinds of open platforms; what's most ubiquitous includes stuff like the de facto standard MIDI. But we wouldn't be able to have this conversation without the Internet, so it's moot.

  24. Again, you're having this conversation on the Internet. You're also falsely equating proprietary with "having customers." I run CDM off of Red Hat, which is a fully commercial distribution of Linux, and I know people who work there who are concerned about happy customers.

    I also think people contributing to the Pd community are interested in making people happy, just as the people at Cycling '74 are.

    Talking about a specific driver situation on Linux when the original question was open (not open source, even) hardware development on Android is the definition of a straw man argument.

  25. "You're also falsely equating proprietary with "having customers." I run CDM off of Red Hat, which is a fully commercial distribution of Linux"

    Not exactly. RH sells services, not the actual product itself. Because it is Linux the source code is fully open, as such other distributions like CentOS can simply fork the original and as such provide a completely free alternative. Not including the specific RH extensions, but in every other aspect CentOS is a full RH distribution.

    Hence; RH sells services, not merely "a commercial Linux".

  26. I'm all for mixing proprietary and open source projects (not "commercial"; many open source projects are "commercial"). Case in point – I might use Pd and Ableton together, Harrison Mixbus and Ardour, JACK and Cubase, proprietary plugs in an open Linux host. But the example you cite is still a poor example: *all* — of WordPress is presented under a GPL license. There's all kinds of "commercial" activity around the product, but that's because of the value of the open source tool and what you can do with it. (And yes, as you say, services, but you can even charge directly to buy open source software and open source hardware.)

    Let's consider the things people prefer about the iOS experience. Not to be a broken record, but not one — not a SINGLE one — of the issues that has been cited over and over again on this site (and mine) has anything to do with whether Android is "open" or Apple is "closed." Look at some of the areas in which iOS is stronger:
    * Audio API — it's an engineering issue, not a licensing issue.
    * Low-latency performance — it's an engineering issue, not a licensing issue.
    * Ability to address APIs on the platform using native code — it's an engineering issue, not a licensing issue.
    * Higher-quality audio hardware performance — it's an engineering issue, not a licensing issue.
    * Native support for MIDI hardware — it's an engineering issue, not a licensing issue.

    Then you have issues like app quality. The best apps on iOS are the best apps because they're the best apps, because of the passion of the people who designed them. The same is true of the software on Android. And a lot of the best apps on iOS aren't the ones that happen to use generic Apple UI widgets.

    Then, take the original topic of this article. I have sitting on my desk all kinds of hardware that support USB class compliance, which is what Google has opened. I have all sorts of stuff that works with USB host mode. I have things that are built using open source toolchains. None of this stuff is "craptacular," just because it's open. Then you have the hated Made for iPod program, which has turned out all kinds of useless crap.

    It's a damned shame that Google's engineers and their OEM partners screwed up engineering, but then get used as an example of what happens with all "openness," everywhere.

  27. 'give a mac user a pc, and they have no idea.'

    thats a BOLD statement.

    @peterkirn – go play with your jp80 dude.

    to the original topic – no, it wont kill it, but it will give people the ability to do a lot of cool stuff, should they want to put the effort into it – and they can share it without going through the approval process. either way, at some point both platforms will most likely fall into the hands of musicians, and each system will be used for their own merits, together.

  28. I anticipated this.

    Realize that web services were already available long before "browsing" became the hype as it is now. The Apache HTTP project ("Apache" itself consists of a lot of projects) is a very popular project but it still hasn't managed to get itself to go into main stream regions. "www.visa.com", powered by… ASPx. "American Express" (don't leave home without it!)… Ayups. More of the same. Mastercard.com otoh seems to be the only one running an Open Source environment (NetBSD) but their web services are nothing common (source: netcraft.com).

    It is a widely used webserver out there (heck, even my company servers are all Apache powered ever since Sun got overrun) but quantity doesn't make quality (although I'll be the last to say that IIS is better than Apache, don't get me wrong here!).

    My point is: IIS is still around, and especially in regions where it counts so it can't be "all that bad". Apache made an impression but it certainly did not "kill the opposition".

    WordPress.. More of the same IMO. As said above: OSS excels in common aspects. But stuff like the web, e-mail, databases, encryption (to a certain degree), VPN.. All of those aspects were already available (but in much lesser forms) WAY before the Internet even started to get hyped up.

    Most of the big projects now are (in general) basically further developments of aspects which were already there (no matter how small). Sure, back then we browsed using consoles, now we have GUI's.

    Yet when it came to inventing something totally new within these regions (take midi support, better yet: take touch screens itself) you will see open source failing to a certain extend.

    Oh; I know; now some people will start responding "The Android OS is aimed at mobile decides (as such touch screen too) and also an open source project!". Sure.. But it did take a commercial company like Google to purchase the initial project and put it on the map where it is now.

  29. The Internet is a set of open platforms: TCP/IP, WWW/http, HTML, now HTML5… the list goes on. And it is operated by a number of open platforms, arguably – by the counterexamples being cited here in regards to iOS – even Windows and proprietary UNIX servers. It's a whole bunch of platforms. That's my point.

    Obviously, there are all kinds of specific complaints to have about Android. To say that somehow a few isolated criticisms of Android / strong suits of iOS mean that all "openness" is suspect is, I think, really tragic. It undercuts decades of evolution of open standards and open development, and runs a bulldozer over all of the subtleties of those issues and all the actual engineering issues that make this stuff work. It gives credit to Apple's policies in regards to hardware and software development and distribution – whether defensible or draconian (or both) – while ignoring their real contributions in engineering and design.

    And … come on. We use mice, keyboards, MIDI, audio interfaces, mechanical garden waterers, robots, gestural gloves, 3D vision accessories, all through "open" hardware, the original point of this post. iOS even supports standards for interoperability, like WiFi and USB Audio and USB MIDI class. It seems like a false controversy.

    The fundamental question of this post I think is a good one, and it's very much wide-open. I have no idea, frankly, how many people the hardware accessory development may attract or what they may do. I'm sure going to try to do something cool with it, but there are tons of other variables that impact platform choice.

  30. Until the Android kernel's sound subsystem becomes capable of audio latency of a millisecond or less, you can forget about halting the Apple juggernaut in music apps. Last I checked, things are still in the 20 – 50 millisecond region as far as Android guidelines to developers are concerned, and that just won't quite cut it.

    And that's just the beginning of the journey – fragmentation across many handset and tablet types and capabilities has to be tightly reined in for the audio capability of the platform to be uniform, unless of course the aim is to restrict advanced audio app capabilities to the more powerful models only, which would simply further exacerbate the fragmentation issue..

    On the plus side, a lot of the pioneering effort and issues, like audio copy and paste, MIDI import export and clock etc, have already been dealt with exhaustively on the iOS platform, so there is a lot to understudy without much creative effort in reinventing the wheel there.

  31. The Internet isn't a set of open platforms. Its merely a whole bunch of computers linked together which forms the Net. Even the definitions of tcp/ip (not to nitpick but its TCP and UDP which make up the IP protocol) existed way before "The Internet" as you call it existed.

    And yes; HTML4, HTML5. True. But in the end its an already available standard which has been build upon. Most people don't realize but 'the internet' existed WAY longer before you could access it using Mosaic. Evem for public access; hence my comments.

    As to your comments: True. There have been lots of open projects which really made a difference. Take for example FireFox or Thunderbird.

    But in general there is IMO no denying that a lot of people are currently starting to have second thoughts. Just take a look at the quite massive complaints which are triggered by FireFox 4 and Thunderbird 3. There seem to be quite a lot of people who do not like seeing their web and/or mail environment drastically change without any options to retain the previous setup.

    That too is an issue with open source. The coders won't really "feel" it if hundreds of people suddenly stopped using their product. Its all a hobby in the end after all. Something quite drastically displayed by Mozilla. Go to the CNet forums, go to the Slashdot forums.. everywhere you hear (read) people heavily complain. And the result? non-existent.

    NO WAY that a producer who is depending on his income for the platform he's using is going to side with this setup. And THAT is just what you need to "kill" the opposition.

    Not going to happen in a situation like this. No way.

  32. Big argument over small issues. You may be nitpicking the wrong words.

    Internet is open in the sense anyone(*) can publish content, and a platform in the sense one can build technical solutions on top of the underlying HTML/Javascript base, and these will be usable and readable and reusable for others. "An available standard which [is] built upon" is a definition of one sense of platform.

    Then you go into some FUD mode over some open SOURCE projects. Nothing there that isn't done worse by closed source operators. Nevermind.

    (*) Well, caveats for you: "anyone" with an IP, and a computer, and electricity for the computer, and knowledge to connect the cables…
    But you obviously don't need knowledge to connect any dots to use it.

  33. I remember some years ago when lot of guys claimed !
    LINUX open source kill to MICROSOFT…………….20 years after……….noting chnage about that !
    Take you conclusion, ANDROID make a lot of noise…………IOS just work !

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