Looking for suggestions for the hardware page

As it was a suggestion in itself I thought I’d ask for your ideas on what should be in the hardware page. At the moment I’ve got a draft that has mainly iOS based hardware in it, although it does have stuff like the PO series of devices too. But whilst I appreciate that for the most part it will be iOS heavy, I don’t want it to be just iOS.

Hence I’m looking for some suggestions, both iOS and non-iOS too. So please, tell me what you think.

Why Mobile Music is important (part 1)

I wanted to spend some time in May taking a deeper look into a range of topics around mobile music. I think that there are a lot of questions that warrant more time and investigation, and so often we don’t get the chance to do that.

To start with I want to ask, and hopefully answer, this question.

Why is mobile music important?”

You might think that the answer to that question is self evident, and you might wonder why someone who’s been involved in mobile music for the last 8 years (or probably a lot longer actually) would ask something like this.

The reason that I think it’s important to ask this is because it is fundamental to the ongoing expansion of the community and to getting some perspective in terms of why anyone should start down the route of making music on a mobile device.

Being able to answer this question gives us the ability to continually push the mobile agenda and become a real voice for change in the music tools industry. Of course, you could argue that this has been done. You could say that where we are today reflects the fact that the argument has already been won. However, I’d say that this is an argument that we’re going to continue to face for a long time to come.

There are also those who might state that there is no longer any such thing as mobile music anyway. That the distinction itself is no longer valid. I did in fact hear that from someone in the academic community not so long ago. It’s a point worth considering. However, for the most part, I think we still face a lot of the “it’s just a toy” or “it’s only a fad” treatment that was characteristic five years ago and long before that, and, to be fair, back then it was largely true.

But now, in 2014, I firmly believe that it’s a different story. The question is, why and how do you get people to accept it as a fact?

You could answer that in a number of different ways. Proving something like this isn’t always about numbers (although numbers is something that we need to deal with at some point, and I think I might tackle that separately).

In fact when you start to look at the dimensions of this question it is actually pretty huge and in many ways there is only one place from which you can answer the question, and that place is in hindsight. So perhaps a better question would be:

“What would the music making world look like if we were sitting, ten years from now, looking back at 2014 and saying, yes, that’s when it was obvious that mobile had taken a real hold.”

If we could answer that, if we could say what that looked like then I think we’d be well on the way to understanding what needs to change in order that mobile can get the kind of recognition it needs and deserves, and along the way we may even answer some of the questions that John from the Music App Blog poses in his piece about iOS not being mainstream.

Over this month I’ll be asking a lot of questions, and raising issues that I think are important and that require a bit more time and thought. I hope you’ll find it as interesting a journey as I do.

Ok, here’s a Quora Board for Mobile Music Questions

I’ve set this up and posted the first question over there too. Let’s see what happens now.

Oh yes, and you can find the Quora board here.

QOTD: What next for PalmSounds?

What do you think Palm Sounds should focus on next?

  • More application reviews?
  • Speculation and rumours?
  • Comment and opinion?
  • How to type posts?
  • Something else entirely?
  • Retro?


QOTD: What do you read?

What the best PDA news or info sources you read? What else do you read? I like CDM and Music Thing amongst others.

QOTD: Will Mobile Music Making always be a niche?

Or will it one day be as common as using laptops to make music?

QOTD: Dedicated hardware or software?

Sometimes I think that using dedicated hardware is better than using software products that bend and stretch the abilities of a handheld device.

The thing is that I like the swiss army knife approach of using a PDA / handheld / smartphone so I avoid using the dedicated stuff, and also it means carrying too much stuff with you.

What would be really nice was if there was a dedicated hardware / OS / software combination that included all this stuff as well as an open platform for developers. Like a PDS (personal digital studio).

QOTD: What handheld platform is best for music?

For me the two main platforms for mobile music making are:

  • Palm OS
  • Windows Mobile

But I have to admit that I know very little about other platforms and how they shape up. I know that there was a tracker for Symbian which I did write about ages ago, but I don’t know of very much else.

Also, I think that as Styletap takes off and allows more and more Palm applications to run under Window Mobile it will become easier to run everything in one place as it were rather than keeping and maintaining multiple platforms.

Windows is still developing and moving forward, although, not in leaps exactly, but Palm don’t seem to be doing too much of anything right now.

Sure ALP is coming along, but what will that do for existing applications? Will it bring in more developers? Will it bring new possibilities in terms of hardware from palm or ease of development from ACCESS? Will it mean that Linux music applications are easier to port over to ALP?

The other possibility is that Palm will kick off their own OS separate from ACCESS and ALP altogether.

So, what does the future hold?


QOTD: Where do you use make mobile music?

What’s the place that works best for you?

  • On the train?
  • Lunch time?
  • Tram
  • Tube
  • Bus
  • Toilet

Where’s best for you?

QOTD: Will the iPod develop into a music creation platform?

With Belkin’s TuneStudio and the Alesis iMultiMix 8 USB will the iPod become a mobile platform? Will another manufacturer enter the market with another mixer type device, or will someone go the whole way and incorporate an iPod into a more handheld studio design?

Any thoughts?