Synthesia for Android

Archived development update discussion from past versions
Archived development updates.
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

Hmm, what's this little icon on the home screen of this Nexus 7?!
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I wonder what happens when I tap it...
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Alright, so there is a little ways to go yet. Still, that's pretty cool. :lol:
kiwi
Synthesia Donor
Posts: 1178

Post by kiwi »

What a teaser! Synthesia on my phone :)
Very alpha preview this one ^^
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

I'll have to see. So far I'd been planning another "tablet-only" version for Android. I'm not sure how good of an experience it would be on anything smaller than a 7" screen. (And 7" is already pushing it.) Synthesia is definitely an app that was designed with a large screen in mind.

I guess if it feels usable on that small of a screen, I could let it go out the door without the screen size restricted... but I'm worried that decision might hurt users more than it would help.
PBrother
Posts: 7

Post by PBrother »

Hello,

Ii think that Android screen size tablet are easily more than 7 inch. So that doesn't really matter.
Do you have in mind wich will be the minimal android version compatible with your software ?

I am waiting the android with a big impatience... I could beta test it if you want to.
Regards.
Stéphane
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

Regarding OS version, it's not finalized yet but I think 4.0+ (ICS) will be somewhere near the minimum. If possible it'd be nice to avoid requiring Jelly Bean.

As for beta testing, my understanding is that Android is much more lax about things than iOS, so it should be possible to have more of an open beta test where anyone can participate. It's as easy as posting the beta .APK file and letting people try it out on the their device, right? If so, that's definitely something we'll do.

And while I'm here, have the latest status update: since the screenshot posted above, we've got it using the whole screen, text is drawing (and wrapping) now, single-finger touch support, and High-DPI support (so it can use all the 2x "Retina" art from the iPad version) is almost finished.

Things are going smoothly but there is still quite a bit of work left like MIDI device support, MIDI synthesis, text entry, multi-touch support, and network communication. Still, what we have finished is being done a lot faster than I was hoping, so there should be a beta to try soon'ish.
anb
Posts: 7

Post by anb »

yes yes YES!!! you can just simply publish the APK file same way as you distribute Windows version - and anyone with android device can easily install it. Looking forward playing it on my LG Pad 8.3!!

As for piano connection, I already used with success USB-OTG cable with other Android piano programs and it worked alright (the apps were horrible though). So if you have usb-midi on piano - it is very easy to connect it with android device. As for Midi-port - i am not sure
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avbprincess
Posts: 4

Post by avbprincess »

Will the Android app be available for Kindle users? Available on the Amazon Appstore, perhaps? My understanding is that Kindle's OS is a heavily modified Android, and that there can be roadblocks to getting apps on the Kindle that work 100% without going through the Amazon Appstore.
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

UPDATE: Kindle devices don't support USB OTG, so it's impossible to connect your keyboard! For now the Kindle version has been delayed.

There might be a delay of a week or two between Synthesia hitting the Google Play store vs. the Amazon Appstore, but I am considering supporting both as part of the same task. That is, I won't call "Synthesia for Android" complete until it's in both places (or I learn some unexpected reason that it isn't possible on Kindle).

While I'm here, have another in-progress image. Things are starting to look pretty nice:
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avbprincess
Posts: 4

Post by avbprincess »

Awesome! It's always nice when app developers remember us Kindle users, with our black sheep OS. I would love to be able to put Synthesia on my Kindle for my son to play with and remove the inferior piano app that's on there now.
revilo2
Posts: 115

Post by revilo2 »

Android's version will be free for PC users ?
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

I'm still looking into Google's rules to make sure this is acceptable, but my first impressions are that I can use exactly the same unlock method as the desktop version. That is, you'll be buying a PC/Mac/Android unlock (vs. the all-by-itself iPad unlock). Of course, an in-app purchase will make this a little more convenient, but in theory you will be able to use an Android in-app purchased unlock on your computer, too.

We'll see how that goes. $29 in the tablet market may be more than some people are willing to spend. I'll have to make sure to communicate that the unlock works all over the place.
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jimhenry
Posts: 1821

Post by jimhenry »

I think you might need to sell an Android only unlock to be competitive as an Android app in addition to enabling the desktop unlock to work on Android if that is permissible. As an iPad Synthesia user I have never had a desire to use Synthesia on a desktop. The ability to use a tablet key on a desktop machine would be a zero value feature to me.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

jimhenry wrote:The ability to use a tablet key on a desktop machine would be a zero value feature to me.
I would cite revilo2 and (especially) avbprincess as counter-examples. I also can't think of anything harder to communicate than "some Android unlocks work on the desktop and others don't depending on where you made the purchase". I could see that leading to all sorts of confusing "you mean I have to buy it again?" and accidental "can I get a refund, I didn't know I only had to buy it once" scenarios.

Right around the same time as the Android release, desktop/Android (or more simply: "non-iPad") unlocks will be gaining a little more utility with the upcoming Synthesia Video Creator. The same unlock will be required to use that tool as well. That will mark the first time desktop users get a benefit that iPad users don't. The video creator may still not be relevant to your interests in particular, but it does start to build up a bigger value proposition for others trying to make that same decision.
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jimhenry
Posts: 1821

Post by jimhenry »

I am sure there will be people who do want both the Android and the desktop experience. This is a tricky thing for you because the expectations for pricing in the tablet world are entirely different than in the desktop world. My guess is that average prices of Android apps are even lower than iPad apps because of the absence of the barriers to entry in the Android market as compared to the iPad market. My guess is that a $29 app on an Android immediately puts you into the stratosphere of an extremely narrow niche market app. If you have found acceptance of the iPad version at $5.99 as inexpensive enough to be an impulse purchase such that the sales volume more than makes up for the low price, then I would suggest that the better business plan is to try to duplicate that success in the Android market. Of course, if you view the $5.99 iPad app as a terrible choice that you are now stuck with then by all means do something different with the Android.

I suppose one fundamental decision to be made is do you want to extend the desktop license to the Android at all? I can understand the feeling that it is the right thing to do. You need to ask yourself if you really are going to be able to maintain a parity between the Android capabilities and the desktop capabilities? That would seem like a tall order.

Perhaps you need to have one pricing model for tablets, iPad or Android, and another for desktop machines. I gather that Apple doesn't let you charge for upgrades? If that is so, then maybe you need to look at making feature enhancements individually purchasable in-app upgrades for the tablet market. For example, musicXML support could be an add-on that tablet users could purchase. Perhaps, in app MIDI file editing (track splitting) could be as well.

This is not an easy decision to make. No matter what, it is going to take a lot of guesswork and intuition. Just think carefully about what has worked and what not only looks like it will work as you expand into the Android market, but what will be sustainable.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
fuhaha01
Posts: 1

Post by fuhaha01 »

Please send to me Link download synthesia for android... Please =.=!
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

It's not quite finished yet. ;)

Don't worry, there will be as big an announcement as we're capable of making when it's ready: front page of the site, in the forums, via Twitter and even Facebook.

Things are coming along nicely though. Including screenshots is less interesting now because all of the visual work is complete -- there isn't any more progress to show on that front. Now it's all the little under-the-hood systems that are still progressing.
PHIDIAS
Posts: 136

Post by PHIDIAS »

SO... THIS IS "SYNTHESIA.apk"?
AND... ITS VERSION IS 0.9.0?
AND FOR ANDROID 4.2 OR HIGHER?
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

It's probably going to launch around the same time Synthesia 10 is released. There are some changes in 10's code base that are required for the Android version.

Status update time:

The two biggest, scariest steps of this Android project are getting Synthesia to communicate with the built-in synth (or just discovering if a built-in synth exists) and communicating with external MIDI devices.

I can report that we just had a breakthrough on that first one. While elusive and totally undocumented, it turns out Android does have a built-in synth. They made some interesting choices: the piano and non-melodic channel 10 drums use typical wavetable synthesis... but the other 126 instruments are actually generated using FM synthesis! That means the quality of anything besides piano can be a little uneven, but the whole thing requires almost no disk space. I think the piano uses a 200KB set of samples, the drums are something like 40KB, and ALL of the rest can fit inside maybe 2KB because each instrument just requires a dozen or so numeric parameters. That's clever and feels like a solution that was probably brought forward from older cell phones that had MIDI ringers.

Talking with external MIDI devices is up next.
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

One more small (bad news) update:

It looks like the Kindle Fire HDX can't talk to external USB devices. Like, at all. So outside of inconvenient solutions like MIDI-over-Ethernet where you need a computer in addition to your tablet, any Kindle Fire release would have to be touch-screen only. I was going to try and line up the Android and Kindle releases to hit at the same time, but now I'm a little more comfortable waiting on Kindle. I'll look into it afterward, but for now our target is just going to be the Google Play store for proper Android tablets.
darkman
Posts: 10

Post by darkman »

Hello! :)

Is there any ETA for the Android version? Can't wait to use it on my Nexus 7 !! :)

Oh, and if you need beta testers... :D
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