Andronome Engine – making Android tick

Posted by . on Monday, September 05, 2011
Android is a great platform. For the end user there is a huge variety of phone models (yes, you can actually select between more than black and white...), pads, TVs and other cool stuff. For the app developer the Java language and nice API makes for a fun and easy development environment. The business model lets you publish anything you want, good and bad. For free. For better and for worse. And hardware manufacturers as well as kernel hackers have a lot of open code to play with.

However, for us musicians Apples iOS still have a huge advantage: Android does not support realtime applications, especially audio with low latency requirements. And unfortunately this is only partly due to garbage collecting Java, so writing native code is only part of the solution. But the Android OS developers seem aware of the problem, and the Linux kernel can do better than this, so I'm sure the problem will eventually be solved. But we're not there yet.

In the meantime, let's play with what we got!

Introducing: The Andronome Engine -- a simple way to provide audio cues with sub millisecond accuracy and synchronised visual feedback. As I said, the Android OS still has some way to go and the performance will depend partly on the phone hardware, but rest assured that the Andronome Engine offers the best possible tick-per-buck available today.

Currently the Andronome Engine is used in the Rude drum training app and (of course) in the Andronome metronome. But there is more to come, so stay tuned.