We're working on it, but there are structural limitations in the Android system
We very much want NOISE to work on Android devices. We're deeply committed to changing the status quo and making NOISE compatible across platforms, and we're working as hard as we can on this. Unfortunately, there are structural issues in the Android world that make this a bigger challenge than one company can solve.
The challenge starts with the fact that NOISE requires a very high standard of audio performance in order to translate subtle multitouch gestures into sound — all in real time with no latency.
High-performing audio depends on the baked-in capabilities of an Android OS such as Android 7 or Android 8. Even when an Android OS supports high audio performance, many devices do not run that version of the OS. To make the picture more complicated, individual devices that DO run the same OS do not necessarily have microchips that support all of the specs and capabilities of that OS (including high-performance audio).
Android is essentially a decentralized operating system. This makes it a highly flexible environment for developers and manufacturers, but it limits the ability of any common standard across the whole environment. This makes Android fundamentally different from Apple's centralized iOS environment, which integrates standards across hardware and software. NOISE works well on recent iOS devices not because ROLI favours iOS over Android, but because Apple applies a standardized iOS audio specification to most of its devices.
The Android team is working to make high-performance audio a standard feature on Android O and all later versions. The most recent Android devices running the most recent OS should be able to support both NOISE and other music creation apps that require high-performance audio. Unfortunately, it will be a long time before this is the common experience (even in the premium tier of Android devices) because of the fragmentation noted above. Indeed, some premium devices may not be able to run NOISE, even though the specifications of the OS allow it. To get a fuller picture of how audio quality compares on dozens of Android vs iOS devices, see this research conducted in 2017 (note: audio performance on some devices may have marginally improved since then but the relative position between iOS and Android is the same).
Unfortunately we cannot give a timeframe for when NOISE will be compatible for most Android devices. That’s a question for Google and Android. As developers of cutting-edge technologies for real-time music creation, we're working as hard as we can with the Android team to solve the issue and deliver a better experience for Android users.
We’ll update this article when we can confidently release NOISE on Android devices beyond the Google Pixel.
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