As Harman’s impending purchase by consumer electronics giant Samsung for $8B was reported here yesterday, I was reminded of conversations I had with several Android OS experts a bit over two years ago, focusing on the glaring absence of world’s most popular OS in pro audio applications. The original article is here: http://prosoundnetwork.com/blogs/android-void-the-most-popular-mobile-os-has-no-pro-audio-applications/43649.
Since that time, Android OS has become more common in some pro audio control applications, yet because of the structure of Android’s API—or Application Programming Interface, specifically audio I/O software—it remains relatively useless in audio recording and production applications. Due to a significant inherent latency, no pro audio manufacturers have prioritized the development of such Android-centric recording products, as many have successfully done for years now for Apple’s iOS.
“Google has a relatively small team focused on trying to redesign the core audio layers inside Android, and they have made some significant progress so far…. They have also added the OpenSL API which does provide a pull model option for application developers, although it comes with a lot of additional stuff the pro audio apps don’t want or need…. My sense is that there’s an unwillingness to commit to, ‘We have to have a low latency path.’ There is also the problem that Android itself is not a product in the way iOS is. Getting this stuff to work the way we need it for pro audio requires the whole Android ecosystem to agree on some basic goals and rules, and that seems quite unlike how Android has worked so far.”—Paul Davis, developer/programmer of Audour, the JACK Audio Connection Kit, and second-earliest programmer for Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com, in October 2014.
So I’m wondering if a Samsung-owned Harman could finally be the heavyweight catalyst theorized about back in 2014: a pro audio conglomerate powered by a large-enough force in tablet/smartphone manufacturing to prod Google’s Android core audio engineers to finally make its mobile OS fully realized for audio recording and production purposes.
What do you think?