You'd think that in 2014, an app being ported from one platform to another wouldn't really be considered news anymore. Android an iOS are more than just app platforms nowadays, and if you're a serious developer it would be foolish to ignore either ecosystem. At the same time, building an app for one platform and releasing a lazy port for the other is just bad form. Recently I sat down with the folks at Algoriddim, and experienced what they feel is the start of a new generation of apps for Android.
If you're an all Android, zero Apple kind of user there's a good chance you have never heard of Algoriddim's Djay 2. This team set out to create professional grade djay software for the Mac several years ago, and received a lot of attention for themselves when Steve Jobs showed off the iPad version of the app on stage. While Jobs was busy making the argument for Apple's tablet as a productivity device and not just a media consumption device, users from all around the world picked up the app and began to explore.
Like any good app development company, Algoriddim wanted to release Djay 2 for Android and expand their user base. Rather than release a port of their iOS app and slapping it up on the Google Play Store, Algoriddim CEO Karim Morsy demanded a complete overhaul of the app so the experience matched the platform. In talking with Karim, he explained that it was important for the app to feel like Djay 2 belonged on Android, but it was also important that the app be as smooth and polished on Android as it was on iOS. The Android version of Djay 2 has been in development for three years, and it was vital to create the same zero latency experience that the existing versions of this app were already known for. For Algoriddim this meant waiting until the appropriate APIs were available, which meant waiting for Android 4.1.
I've been using djay for a couple of days now, and it is without question one of the smoothest apps I have ever used. There's no lag, no animation drops, and everything looks and feels fantastic. The app shifts from portrait to landscape even while completing complex tasks without skipping a beat, and as the UI shifts from a single turntable to the double turntable setup you see on tablets you can tell you are using a quality app.
Using djay is a simple or as complex as you choose. The app can either pull from songs you have stored locally or it can grab just about any song ever through their partnership with Spotify. As long as you have a Spotify subscription, you can mix just about anything. The songs load whatever album art is available onto the records in the center of the UI, which function perfectly for scratching. The UI surrounding the turntables gives you control over which album of the two you have loaded is louder, and if you feel the need to add in sound effect from a drum machine there's a quick sliding button for all of those effects.
Songs can be synced together with the touch of a button, and in doing so the songs will adjust in tempo to sync together to fit your needs. You can even automix the songs together if you don't really know what you're doing, and Djay 2 will use some basic algorithms to put together a mix for you. If you've found a sound that you absolutely love, the record button will allow you to grab your creation and save it locally. If you're not quite ready to record your next big djay experience, you can toss your favorite songs into a queue and let the app be your djay and just connect to a set of speakers.
For $2.99, Djay 2 is a must have for any music mix fan. The app works well for enthusiasts or totally new users, and watching a pro scratch on a phone and creating unique sounds is a wild experience. The folks at Algoriddim have done well to ensure that the polish and functionality of their original app made its way to Android, and have demonstrated that rebuilding your app from the ground up to suit the ecosystem you are building for is way better than just releasing a sloppy port. More importantly, Djay 2 demonstrates that every Android app is capable of being well polished and super smooth, and especially now that we're moving into the Lollipop days this is going to be the kind of experience that users demand.