Android phones and tablets already make pretty decent portable media players. But some of the best mobile apps for recording or creating audio are still iOS-only. That’s at least partly bbecause Apple’s smartphone and tablet operating system supports low-latency audio processing, something that’s been missing from Android… until now.
The next version of Google Android is due out this fall, and the Android L Developer Preview is already available. And it’ll include a number of audio enhancements, including support for real-time audio processing.
That could help app makers to offer better digital audio editing software as well as karaoke apps and apps that let you alter your voice in real-time, among other thing.
Developers previously had to deal with latency of up to 200 millisconds. While that might not sound like a lot of time, it can be an eternity if you’re trying to process audio in real-time. It’d cause a kind of echo effect if you were listening to your own voice or trying to record a music session.
Working with app developers including StarMaker (maker of iOS karaoke apps) and Smule (maker of the I Am T-Pain app for iOS), Google has worked to improve latency issues, bringing that time down to about 20 milliseconds.
Google is also adding support for 24bit 96 kHz sampling, improved audio/video sync, and added official support for USB audio devices including external sound cards or other devices.
Even with these improvements, it could take a while for Android to catch up with iOS — there are already plenty of great audio apps for iOS and it’s not clear if app developers will bring all of those apps to Google’s operating system. But don’t be surprised if we see more karaoke, music creation, and audio editing apps in the Play Store after Android L launches this fall.