February; the shortest month of the year has, somehow been incredibly long this year. What with the Nokia/Microsoft announcement, Mobile World Congress and of course, NOT at Mobile World Congress, it’s a wonder the Really Mobile team have had any time to do anything!
Update: Audioboo for Symbian is now fully baked! Get it from the Ovi Store now!
Audioboo! For Symbian!
Yes, so what if Symbian won’t be here after the Olympics, let’s talk about the right now. Right NOW Audioboo is going through the Ovi Store approval process and yours truly has been given a special sneak preview of the client to test out on his Nokia N8.
Functionally, it’s almost exactly the same as the other client(s) available on the market; namely a rather suped-up iPhone variant and a somewhat buggy Android version. At long last, Audioboo has come to Symbian and it’s actually very, very good.
What’s right with it?
Clean interface. Fantastic audio quality. Geo-tagging of posts in and sorted.
What’s wrong with it?
The image capture feature seems to be missing but, I’m guessing, that this is down to the N8′s camera API not being completely open (if at all) quite yet.
I’ve uploaded a fair few ‘boos since getting the app and, having had an extended play, it really is quite cool and fun to use. I managed to sit down with Mark Rock and grill him about a few of the things that were playing on my mind (pre and post-Windows announcement).
- Audioboo for Symbian, we’ve heard rumours about it for a while now, so what took you so long?
It was actually the 2nd platform we focussed on after iPhone back in 2009. We outsourced development to an external company in June 2009, not having the proper skills in house. The process was a nightmare. Audioboo does some pretty intensive stuff – recording to the FLAC format, managing memory allocation, uploading to the servers, along with an image, location etc. After we still didn’t have a working version delivered to us after 7 months, we canned the project. The Android version had gone live by then (not without its own problems) and we just felt defeated by the whole thing.
Moving forward to 2010, I shared a panel at The Radio Festival in Manchester with Nokia’s Mark Selby (note: panels are the best form of networking known to mankind) and we hatched up the plan that eventually became the S^3 app.
- How was the development process?
I have to say it was a pretty seamless and overall quite good. There is a lot of work to do on the S^3 platform admittedly, but kudos to them for launching early. Qt is quick and light and a lot of developers are happy with that environment. We’ve got most of the features into it we wanted and in some respects this release is more advanced than our Android version.
- The full feature set hasn’t been implemented quite yet, is this something you hope to roll out in a future update?
Our approach is really straightforward, (although people might feel we’re being Apple fanboys). We have very experienced iOS expertise in-house and it is the most advanced mobile platform, so we aim to launch first on iPhone as a way of developing the best app experience across all environments then iterate onto other platforms. Since we’re tiny and don’t have grown up things like project managers, it’s the easiest way for us to work.
- When will the app be out on public release?
I don’t know I’m afraid. All I know is that it went to the Ovi Store before Christmas, so fingers crossed it’ll be soon!
- Any final words?
It’s a good, solid app. I’m excited about finally getting Audioboo out to S^3 users ( it may work on later S60 versions also). I’m probably more excited about creating the next version, which will hopefully really push the capabilities of S^3 to the limit
The original interview was conducted before the Microsoft/Nokia announcement, but Mark was kind enough to answer a couple of addition questions once the news had dropped…
- Thanks for this Mark, the mobile landscape has changed almost overnight! What do you make of the this new Nokia/Microsoft partnership?
It makes sense for Nokia to drop its own software. It’s UI approach belongs to a different age now and they just didn’t see the whole touch screen revolution coming. They tried to upscale a low end approach and it just didn’t work. Is MS the best partner? I don’t know, but they were probably the only deal in town.
- You can probably see this next one coming but, are there now plans for a WP7 variant of Audioboo?
Yes. We’ve been talking to the WP7 people for a couple of months. I said in The Guardian at Christmas that it was a good platform and we’d like to be on it. Question of time and cost at the moment. We’re fresh from launching the Audioboo plugin for iPhone and are focusing on bringing the rather poor Android experience on a par with the iPhone. Once that’s done, then, hopefully, we’ll be able to focus on other platforms.
Thanks for your time Mark and, if you’re reading this Ovi Store, hurry up and release this app!