Sonoma have been a big part of the mobile music world for some time now in terms of software and hardware, so it was interesting to see their latest development into the Android world. I was able to put some questions about this to Doug Wright, Sonoma's CEO. Here's what he said ...
What was it that helped you decide to target the Android music market with your new Android solution?
Users have been asking us for Android versions of our products since 2008. We didn't move in that direction due to Android latency issues, and stuck with iOS as exclusively. When GarageBand was released on iOS in 2011, we saw a marked reduction in our recording app sales. Android is a market that doesn't have a recording app competitor with prime time TV ad money. We realized we had the right team of engineers to solve the latency problem and musicians were contacting us with more requests for Android solutions, so we got to work.
What is your view on Android as an OS in comparison to iOS?
Development is harder on Android. The platform is more fragmented. The audio APIs are not usable for our purposes, but we see that as an opportunity to make improvements.
Do you think that the market for music applications on iOS has become saturated, and where do you think it will go next?
GarageBand provides most of features that the majority of users are looking for, and sets users' expectations very high for a low price of $5. That said, even when FourTrack was a top 50 music app at $10, those sales alone could not fund a dedicated development team.
Why did you decide to bring a solution that would underpin other applications for Android rather than bring your own music applications to Android?
See the next question...
Do you plan to bring any music apps to Android using your own solution?
Who is your Android solution targeted at? Is it for large scale developers / manufacturers or is it aimed at the mass market including small dev teams?
Sonoma's LLA solution needs to be loaded with the OS. In order to achieve the lowest latency, we need to work with each manufacturer to tune it for optimum performance on each device.
How do you see your Android solution benefiting the music community?
Once Sonoma's LLA is delivered on devices, Sonoma's SDK will make it possible for real-time processing audio apps to run on Android.
What are your views on Android fragmentation?
Since we will know which devices have the LLA, the burden of trying to release an app for every device will be reduced. Trying to view Android as a single platform is unreasonable. It is a collection of platforms that have a common API, but radically different hardware. If 5-10 new devices are equipped with Sonoma's LLA, then the audio industry will have a good development and sales platform.
Do you plan to continue to support and develop your AudioCopy/Paste solution in the iOS world?
Will your solution bring something like AudioCopy/Paste to Android?
What are your views on Audiobus and do you think it could have a place in Android?
We are investigating adding Audiobus to our iOS apps. Audiobus may have features that make it useful on Android too, but Sonoma's LLA enables multiple simultaneous audio applications to process and share audio.
Are there any other mobile operating systems that you think could challenge the iOS / Android hold on the market, especially for music?
So it'll be interesting to see how Sonoma's Android solution gains traction in the Android world. Time will tell and I'll be keeping a close eye on how this develops.