More thoughts on Droid and Android

PatternMusic has interesting thoughts on the Droid:

The Droid may represent a sea change for Android and music software.

From a music app developer’s perspective Android has been a difficult target. The platform promises to be fragmented. But the presence of a dominant powerful device like the Droid could counter that trend. We will have to watch that trend and see whether Android becomes synonymous with “Droid”, or whether Android remains “Google” and “let a thousand (mediocre) flowers bloom”.

The lack of a standard floating point unit on most of the Android devices to date has been a deal-breaker. But the Droid is finally a mainstream Android device with a state of the art CPU with a FPU and vector unit – the same ARM Cortex A8 CPU chip used in the iPhone 3GS and 3rd gen iPod touch. (Clocked about 10% bit slower than the iPhone, but that shouldn’t matter.) (The new myTouch and Hero still use a dreary CPU just like the G1 with no floating point!)

There’s not been much developer experience with with the new Droid yet. A potential issue with Android that’s generally considered an asset for the platform but may be a liability for music apps is the multi-tasking. Music apps are typically pushing the performance limits of these small devices. Whether you buy their story or not, the very reasons Apple cites for why they don’t allow 3rd party apps to multi-task are the same issues that are critical for glitch-free real-time music generation. So we will have to see how the issue of performance balancing plays out with sophisticated music software on the Droid.

Anyway, Droid looks like a great product and finally some robust competition for Apple. It will be interesting to see whether that’s enough to create a healthy new music app platform too.


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