Considering the millions of Android smartphones and especially tablets out there, anyone wanting to DJ on their Android device might be forgiven for feeling unloved, to put it mildly. But that’s been changing recently. First there was the excellent Cross DJ Android app from MixVibes (which appeared to get around the high latency audio issues of previous attempts at Android DJ apps), and now we can announce proof of what we’ve all been waiting for: Official USB audio support.
Last Thursday, Google’s Android Open Source Project released a patch for issue 24614: “Add support for USB Audio”. While there’s no timeline as to when this is going to make it into the Android OS proper, a good guess would be October when Android L is released. From then, expect to be able to plug class compliant USB audio interfaces directly into your Android device. No hacking, no adaptors – just a USB lead and you’ll be off.
Of course, what this means for DJs is proper stereo headphone monitoring and master outputs using pro-grade audio interfaces. It’s a huge leap forwards for Android audio and for Android DJing (potentially, at least) and means that Android DJs can finally look forward to playing with the audio gadgets they’ve been enviously watching their iOS counterparts using for years – especially as Google has hinted at much improved latency too.
It’s not all blue sky though. We have yet to see convincing Midi implementation on Android devices, and unlike iOS with its huge uptake of each latest iteration, lots of Android devices are stuck on older versions of the software. This “fragmentation” is a major issue for software developers and can discourage them from writing music apps for the platform. If Google can address these issues too – which we think it will, eventually – there’s no reason why Android can’t challenge iOS for dominance in this field.
Do you use your Android device for music and/or DJing? Do you think this is good news for the future of Android DJing? Or is tablet DJing about iOS or nothing? Please share your thoughts in the comments.