I’ve been mucking about with Android on my 2nd hand G1 for a while now, and whilst I do like it from many perspectives it is a very different experience than that of iOS devices.

I think it is only fair to say that there simply aren’t the number of music apps available for Android as there are for iOS devices, and in many ways the state of mobile music for Android reminds of where iOS was about 2 years ago. There’s some good stuff, and there’s some toy music apps too.

I think that Android has a lot of possibilities. The fact that it is open and people are doing some really interesting stuff like App Inventor and Catroid.

But I do think that one of the primary differences is the metaphor used by each OS. iOS is like a desk and Android is like a workbench. There’s nothing wrong with either metaphor, but it does take a while to get used to one when you’ve become very used to working with the other.

Essentially though I think that this use of metaphor by mobile OS’s is a good thing. Who would want to be presented with essentially the same working environment irrespective of OS?

Going back to Android, I’ve got used to how things work in the OS and once you get used to it everything makes sense. My biggest issue is with the lack of simple discovery tools for apps, but then that can easily be said of iOS these days.

I do like the openness of Android. I like that just about anyone can use App Inventor for making their own apps, I think that’ll be a lot of fun for a lot of people who maybe wouldn’t have made their own stuff for a mobile device before. However it is probably going to create a lot more junk in the marketplace when Google get around to allowing people to put their App Inventor creations there.

I also think that Processing for Android will bring some really interesting apps over time, especially as Processing brings Android development more and more into the core of Processing.

I don’t want to talk about one OS winning over another in the post, or in fact at all. I think that there’s more than enough room for both, and more to exist for mobile music.

I’m looking forward to doing more with my G1 and I might even get a tablet when the market settles. I like Android, and as time goes on it continues to grow on me.

For the time being it isn’t going to be a major mobile music platform, but it has a lot of potential, and I hope to see some of this realised over the coming months.


  1. Keep also in mind that you have a pretty outdated Android device, the G1 is as first gen as can be. I had the pleasure to play around with a Desire some time ago and I must say Android made some huge leaps forward also hardware wise!
    I'm just waiting for it grow a bit more, then I'll be jumping on the Android train!
    Though of course my iPhone is just fine… it just lacks that one thing I treasure most: openness.

  2. How long are you planning on waiting? It's been out nearly 3 years with almost 100 devices available. Android is good as a mobile device, but not as a music tool; that's the bottom line. As much as people hate on Apple the good software keeps coming and updates keep bring more to the table. (Core midi support, File system access, 3rd party accessories) Also as we all know they bring out good hardware refreshes every year. They are perfect by no means, but for now I won't leave home without my idevice and I will continue to show others the potential of these machines.

  3. Android is like throwing a group of Lawyers into a room that all speak different languages with only one interpreter. And we, the users, have to wait until it's all sorted out and a verdict has been made.

  4. Android as a music making platform? Just look at jasuto for android and how the programmer has ceased further development. There are lots of bugs to fix but what do paying customers get? Right. Their money taken, an almost useless app and a kick in the butt.

    This just as example how developers treat the android platform.

  5. Has anyone here actually used the “app creation” software to make their own Android Apps?

    From what I read in a review of it, it sounds downright clunky, and basically pointless for a novice.

    Also, it does seem like a transparent attempt by Google to just increase the sheer number of available apps so as to catch up with Apple's iOS. Then they can say, we have 500,000 apps on our platform! Too bad 99% of them will make the ubiquitous “fart app” meme seem Shakespearian.

  6. I don't think there's any attempt to puff up the number of apps on the Android's Marketplace. The number of apps is a moot issue at this point. There's more than a quarter million for iOS and 100,000 for Android. Those are both numbers higher than you can count.

    App Inventor and Catdroid were both developed for education purposes. App Inventor is not useless. It's well suited for a specific audience of hobbyists and students — something not too different from the skills addressed by many music generation tools.

    Beyond App Inventor and Catdroid there are now appearing a multitude of other mobile app development tools that can create Android apps. Some of these tools can also create iOS apps. Each development tool has its qualities and many are easier than the full blown Android SDK or iOS Development tools or allow developers to leverage existing skills rather than learn new languages or frameworks. These include
    – Flash and AIR for Android
    – Ansca Corona
    – Processing
    – PureData
    – Titanium
    – Unity
    – AirPlay

    Each tool will foster a different kind of development among a wider variety of casual and serious developers.

  7. Hmm, it looks like quite a few people share my feelings about Android, too.
    I am really reminded of the Mac vs PC days, at least when it comes to apps. What I mean is that if you owned a mac in the early days, It was a bit like having a Beta VCR – better in every way, except popularity, which eventually killed it. Luckily it didn't kill the mac platform, but it went pretty close. I don't think that this will kill android, either, but I think it will take longer than iPhone has taken to get to critical mass.

    I don't see Android being as attractive development platform as iOS for a little while yet. But it will get there. The question really is, not if, but when to jump. I am guessing that once there are a bit more stable releases, and we understand how the android tablets will fit into the ecosystem, will be the time to re-evaluate. But I could be wrong perhaps the time to re-evaluate is sooner.

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