French music site Musique Tactile has an interesting post on the state of Google’s Android multi-touch operating system, and why Android music app development is lagging so far behind development on Apple’s iOS:
Google’s multitouch operating system is far behind Apple’s iOS regarding musical creation possibilities. The lag is measurable: about 350 milliseconds. It seems insignificant but it is not.
This latency problem on Android stops developers from writing musical apps that could compete with those available on iPhone or iPad.
They compared latency on a variety of mobile devices. They found that, at best, Android devices have almost 20 times the latency of iOS devices:
- iOS latency – 5.8 ms
- Best Android device latency – 108.8 ms
- Standard Android latency – 371.5 ms
Here’s a set of audio demos that highlight what this means for musicians. The first example demonstrates zero latency. The second, latency on an iOS device. The last two examples demonstrate latency on Android devices:
This level of latency doesn’t preclude using Android for some types of apps, especially ones where the focus is on programming sequences. But it does demonstrate why many music app developers are avoiding Android for interactive music apps.
Musique Tactile sums up the situation like this:
It is not possible to play music with an Android phone.
For the time being, iOS is for creatives while Android is for content consumption. This will remain the case until Google starts to listen to what audio developers have been asking for more than two years.
What do you think of the state of Android as a music platform – and the prospects for its future?