Well, it has been an interesting year to say the least. As in previous years I’ve decided to run through a little review of what’s happened in 2008 not only to show how things have changed, but also as a little reminder of many of the high points of the year.
We saw PocketGuitar appear as a jailbreak app for the iPhone and Styletap demoed a version of their Palm OS emulation platform running on the iPhone. Sadly, at the time of writing this has still not seen the light of day.
Feb was a slightly quieter time for Palm Sounds, although I did interview miniMusic. Pixilang the pixel based language was updated to version 1.4 and Pixitracker appeared, the first tracker written in the pixilang language.
March brought the news that Syntrax (now free) was available for Symbian S60 devices. The first news of the Korg DS-10 arrived. TrakAx mobile, the innovative media editing application for Windows Mobile got updated for VGA devices, and Pixilang moved up again to version 1.5.
April was a big month for Palm OS. We saw the release of SunVox, the multi-platform modular music application, which has been a huge step forward for Palm users. Corrosion, a new plug in for Bhajis Loops was released in beta. Corrosion was the first independently developed plug in for Bhajis Loops. PalmBuzzer, the sample player app for Palm OS was released.
Groovestep, the music sequencer / studio for the Nintendo DS was announced.
In addition, Milkytracker got an update and went open source at the same time.
For me May was very important. May was the first time I got to take Palm Sounds Live. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to do it again at some point.
The other really big news in May was that Intermorphic announced that they were coming back to the mobile market with their app Mixtikl.
June brought Apple’s WWDC at which Apple demoed the ‘Band’ app from MooCowMusic. Following the WWDC Intua announced their BeatMaker app for the iPhone. In addition, miniMusic announced that they would be developing for the iPhone platform, but sadly, at the time of writing they have not published any apps.
The Korg DS-10 was finally released, but in Japan only.
In hardware news N>Trans (the audio CF interface for windows mobile devices) was made known to me, but at a price of £281 it still seems very expensive.
It was no real surprise that September was also dominated by news of new iPhone apps. For me the most interesting ones were Cosmovox due to the way it used accelerometer parameters to map to musical elements, miniSynth as it was one of the first real synthesis applications for the iPhone, and 4 Tracks Lite for being the first 4 track app on the platform.
Finally, corrosion moved up to beta version 2.
October was a busy month for the iPhone too, with generative music arriving in the shape of Bloom. Noise IO Pro arrived and with it an updated an highly interactive new version of their web site. SynthPond the ambient sequencer arrived. Cosmovox got OSC support, and RJDJ arrived providing unusual musical creation on the iPhone platform.
More iPhone apps arrived in November and lots of updated too. Four Tracks for Sonoma Wire Works arrived, another multi-track app. Zoozbeat and Zoozbeat lite arrived for making music with gestures. Smule released their wind sensitive ocarina application for iPhone.
The big news in December has been the final released of Mixtikl, a year and a half after the demise of Tao Group and miniMXA, Intermorphic have built of the success of their BAFTA winning miniMIXA app with the Mixtikl suite of applications.
This month also sees the announcement of a new pink kaossilator and of course a number of new iPhone apps.
iStylophone is one of the coolest apps I’ve seen so far on the app store. GigBaby arrived as another multi-track but with many more features to boot, and FutureSound brought artists like Scanner and David Toop into generative music for the iPhone.
So, what a year. It is fair to say that this year has been a major year for mobile music and that has been largely driven by the arrival of the iPhone platform. Whether you like Apple or not, at the very least they’ve stimulated the market and developers have shown that there is real value in mobile music apps.
I’m hoping that 2009 will be just as eventful for mobile music and that we’ll see even more innovation in hardware and software.
All the best. Palm Sounds.
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