On Android, Free, Open Source Touch Control for Music – And It’s Just the Beginning

If you’re looking to turn an Android phone or flashy, new Android tablet into a touch controller for music, you’ll be really glad to see OSC and MIDI controller Control. Furthermore, here’s a solid, powerful app based on the Web that lets Apple and Android fans play well together.

I’ve sung the praises of Control’s philosophy before. Templates are built on Web/HTML5 (WebKit) rendering, not proprietary, inflexible interface widgets, and can be created in JSON. You can make templates dynamic, too, because of everything JavaScript does.

(Non-jargon-filled translation: you can use the goodness of the Web to make control layouts that do whatever you like.)

The iOS version is a great option, but now Apple and Android owners (or people with both) can both get in on the action. The Android version already has multitouch on supported hardware, Bonjour/Zeroconf networking support, OSC support, and interface downloading. That means it’s already a usable wireless controller for musical and visual performance. Soon, it’ll also add sensor input and MIDI.

With new tablets from Samsung and Toshiba – the Samsung thin and slick, the Toshiba hefty but with tons of ports – the timing seems right. Also, because the app itself is open source, developers curious about adding any of those features to their own apps can share code and (ideally) contribute back to the project, which could accelerate Android development. I’ll leave our audio API gripes for another time – this is a controller app, so therefore doesn’t make sound – but for those looking for more mobile tools, this is unqualified good news.

Full feature list:

– Outputs Open Sound Control (OSC). MIDI coming soon!
– Handles multitouch on capable devices
– Bi-directional communication: use Control to set values on your computer, use your computer to set values in Control
– Dynamically add and manipulate widgets via OSC messages
– Reads and outputs data from Accelerometer and Compass sensors (on applicable devices) with adjustable update rates
– The ability to script behaviors for widgets using JavaScript
– Auto-discovery of wireless networks via Bonjour
– Interfaces can be pushed to the phone via OSC or downloaded from the web

– Supports both portrait and landscape interface orientations
– Interfaces work on both phones and tablets (tested on Droid and Asus Transformer)
– Free

And here’s some of the new, dynamic jQuery functionality, relevant to both iOS and Android users. The idea is, using OSC, you can dynamically create your own interfaces:

More documentation on that, with an example in Max/MSP:
Control 1.3: Dynamic Interfaces, jQuery integration & more

Finally, some images of the Android version, which looks – rightfully – quite a lot like the iOS version. (That’s the idea.)

Learn more about Control, and follow its development across platforms:
http://charlie-roberts.com/Control/

Or for Android users, grab a copy – I’ll be trying it on my Galaxy Tab 10.1 right away:
Control (OSC + MIDI) @ Android Market

The software is really entirely the work of Charlie Roberts – really brilliant work, mate! Thanks for keeping CDM posted!

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