In the exciting world of Things That Aren’t An iPhone, Moog Music have announced, out of the blue, a version of their popular Animoog synth for BlackBerry Z10.

Animoog for BlackBerry Z10

In a tweet to CDM, Moog Music reflected, “The more creative tools artists have the more music the world will have.”

I couldn’t agree more. But platforms have posed some serious hurdles to making development pay off for independent music software makers, with technical hurdles that can make performance a challenge. If BB10 is something different, that’s good news.

These kinds of ports aren’t necessarily so odd. A lot of the most significant code in a music app is DSP code that’s portable from one hardware platform to another. There’s still a lot of effort in working with native APIs on those platforms, even if the UI is rendered largely in technologies like OpenGL or Web renderers – more so if not. But then, that becomes a question of the resistance level of the platform itself: will it be pleasurable or painful to do that work, and will you be able to verify the results? (On Android, for instance, it’s often been the latter where things fall apart – the APIs are nice enough on paper, but don’t always work reliably on the myriad devices people actually own, sometimes breaking down altogether.)

In this case, Moog touts that they are “the 1st leading synth manufacturer to introduce a high-powered music creation tool” for the new platform. That’s a slightly dubious honor, and probably doesn’t need so many qualifiers; I don’t know of any other music devs going after BlackBerry. (Though I’d be happy to be corrected – any CDM readers developing for the Z10?) The big question will be not whether Moog is the first, but whether they’re the last.

In any event, someone who did get one of these phones now has a great synth to try out. And perhaps others will follow.

Speaking of Android, it doesn’t appear there’s much news to report from Google IO. There is one session covering high-performance audio, with a nod to OpenSL ES. I hope to find out what the presenters there are talking about, and if the new Nexus version of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 – or Samsung’s own OS build – will support the low-latency audio profile for Android. We saw that a full year ago, and since haven’t seen other devices.

In fact, the presence of Animoog on BlackBerry before Android seems yet another negative endorsement for Google’s platform, which has been – rightfully, I think – widely maligned by frustrated audio developers.

I’ll let you know when any of you should bother glancing up from your iPhones and iPads.

  • Fernando L.O.

    QNX seems to work well for audio stuff. Pacemaker is a good example (and is available for both Z10 and Playbook). Caustic 2 runs with 16ms latency on the Playbook via Android Player, which is alot better than most Android devices.

  • lsanoj

    BlackBerry 10 is based on QNX. QNX is a well established real-time OS with a long history of use in applications ranging from aviation to nuclear power plants to automotive systems.
    Apps can be made with C/C++ native SDK, C++ QT, html5/css/js, ActionScript (Adobe Air) and Java (Android apps).
    With the C/C++ option you might reach or outperform iOS Objective-C performance.
    Another plus over android is lesser amount of fragmentation in terms of devices to support.
    A plus over iOS are less restrictive guidelines for development and the market.

    BlackBerry’s successor of the PlayBook could be a great platform for music software.

  • David

    It’s so refreshing to see a company not worried about sales. Last I read the Z10’s returns were exceeding its sales, but going by the BB store, all 35 people that still have one actually bought the app. That’s an historic 100% market penetration!

  • ushaped

    I wish they had ported the iPad version’s multi-track upgrade to the iPhone. Does the Z10 version have multi-track recording?

  • Virek

    > With the C/C++ option you might reach or outperform iOS Objective-C performance

    This is somewhat of a moot point. iOS uses the CoreAudio and AudioUnit APIs for realtime audio, which are C/C++. While you can certainly use Objective-C within the render callbacks, that would be ill-advised for the sake of optimized performance. Any iOS DSP developer worth their salt knows not to mess around in a render callback.