Why There is no Ampkit for Android

AmpKit is my absolute favorite iPhone app. It’s a fully fledged digital amp modeler with lots of gear and recording capabilities that I’ve written about before. There’s also Amplitube for iPhone that does pretty much the same, even though AmpKit is my favorite.

On a forum someone asked if there’s an Ampkit for Android, or something like it. I googled a bit and I could tell immediately there is no version of AmpKit for Android, and no Amplitube either. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons, the most important is hardware divergence.

Getting an amp modeler on a computer to work without latency is not the most easy thing to accomplish. It’s impressive it can be done so well on a phone, but one of the reasons it can be done is that there are a very small number of hardware configurations on iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.

An uncorroborated rumor says that Rovio, the developers of Angry Birds, compile three versions for iOS and over seventy (!) versions for Android for each release. Just considering supporting that number of sub-platforms in a hardware-dependent time-critical app would probably make even the most experience software company shy away – and it has.

IK Multimedia, the makers of Amplitube, have also said that Android currently (in a post from February 2011) lacks the realtime audio support needed for the app to work, but that this seems to be addressed in newer Android versions. In the meantime, I’m just happy I have an iPhone (for this reason and others).

Update: There might be some hope now – Low Latency Audio Comes to Android – Will Amp Sims Follow?

  • Beneharris

    this is a good little article. good points. with android’s massive collection of phones, all with varying capabilities it would be impossible to get one that worked across them all; while iphone has one iteration at any given time that is the “new one”

    i still think it would be worth somebodies time to develop one that worked on high-end phones. I know i would pay for it

    • http://www.tekniken.nu/ Anders Bornholm

      Yeah, while I can appreciate the challenges this is a wide open market segment right now. With the massive number of Android handsets out there I think the first developer who lands this could make a lot of money.

  • Albin Ronstrom

    Thanks for your post. I have been searching and have came to the same conclusion. My needs are a little different. I am looking to use Irig, Ampkit, Apogee Jam, or Guitarbud, to connect to a sound board and broadcast a talk show (live talk cast) over the a phone call (I do not have internet where I am broadcasting from so i had to find a solution where I can call in and enter a pin to start broadcasting ( talkshoe.com or ipadio.com ). Do you know if these devices would work for something like this. (basically I am making a call, but sending my voice through a soundboard). I was not sure if the pinout is the same as the ipod (I have a android HTC Mytouch 4G which is the same as a Glacier) My understanding is that the pins for the Ipod are TRRS (Tip Ring Ring Sleeve) 4 ring and are Tip = Left channel, first Ring = Right channel, second Ring = Ground, Sleeve = Mic/Control feed. I am struggling to find the pinout info for the droids. So I would like to use one of these rigs, and I don’t care if the software doesn’t work, as long as I can make a call and transmit my voice during the phone call. Any help on this would be great.

    Albin

  • Shane C.

    Months later there is still no app for android and i presume most people have given up asking for it. I am growing tired of pestering google and big guitar amp modellers, but still wont give in to apple. Even if someone just released a test program open source for other app developers to continue the community would be very grateful.

    • http://www.tekniken.nu/ Anders Bornholm

      Yeah, I feel for all you Androiders. There does however seem to be at least one very rudimentary amp sim for Android now: http://ghettoamp.com/. Haven’t tested it as I don’t have an Android handset, but please a comment if you do!

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  • E-bargainz.com

    The recording/amp model/DAW software on IOS is the only reason I even own an iPad 2. If android had just a fraction of those apps I would jump over my iPad and go get galaxy tab or transformer prime. It is very frustrating because most ios programs and apps (at least the popular ones) are now on android but still no apps for musicians. Hopefully now that most devices are on 2.2 and up and with the release of android 4.0 (ice cream sandwich) things will begin to stabilize enough to produce/port over some great recording apps. My fingers will be crossed whenever they are not running up and down the fret board.

  • Dax

    I’ve been wondering why there’s no ampkit for the android. I have looked everywhere for an app and haven’t been able to find one. Now I understand that the android just isn’t capable of an app like this which is disappointing because I never planned on owning an apple product. Thanks for the post.

    • http://www.osirisguitar.com Anders Bornholm

      Thank you for reading!

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  • gtrgal

    I agree totally. so sorry I bot top of line android…six. I miss apple!

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  • http://knuckles-mutatis.myopenid.com/ Knuckles Mutatis

    As of Jelly Bean, Android is now low-latency, as in sub-10ms. That’s a 10-28 times improvement over previous releases, and Google has stated they are working on getting it much lower still. Expect software like this to be available soon.

    • http://www.osirisguitar.com/ Anders Bornholm

      Still no sign of amp sims…

  • DeusReXnihilO

    While I can understand the latency issue (which has now been addressed) I don’t find the hardware configuration argument convincing in the least.
    These developers would not need to support every phone out on the market since only the higher end platforms will meet the processing power and low-latency demands of the software. This is not Angry Birds, and the software needs couldn’t be more different. Angry Birds relies primarily on smooth animation rendering, and addresses the vast number of hardware capabilities by tweaking image resolution. Most of there porting work is probably spent cropping the images to fit different screen sizes which could be quite intensive.

    Amp emulation on the other hand could be completely script based and still work. Sure a flashy GUI is nice and all that, but I don’t need it and would sacrifice it for quality audio emulation any day. The only hardware configurations that would need adjusting would be audio related, and the discrepancies there should be minimal.

    So while 70+ versions of fracking Angry Birds sounds overwhelming, it’s also misleading in the amount of work required, and doesn’t represent the number of iterations that an amp sim would need anyway. I can port Apk files to Bar via an Internet site, porting is Not that much work.

    The only reason I see for not having amp Sims for Android now is profit margins. A large number of musicians already own apple. Whenever I see a laptop in a live performance running pro tools its always a mac. There OS is proven stable. Can you imagine pro tools crashing on Sigur Ros live? Half the music would die.

    These programs can get expensive pretty quick and would not be mass consumed by curious amateurs en mass the way you might think. You’re a musician, of course this software sounds like a great, easily marketed product. But most people aren’t musicians, don’t have a midi interface or even an instrument to plug in with, and probably won’t be investing in those expensive requirements just to fiddle around with Ampkit on there lunch breaks. Android needs to offer these companies some incentive if they want more musicians and audiophiles looking there way for there next phone or tablet. I’m not sure if that would be profitable, and it seems they’re unsure as well.

    • Ken

      Yeah, it is always business… If it is not profitable, then they will not do it of course…I hope they will make it now. For almost 60 or 70 percent of entire world using Android now…

      • http://www.osirisguitar.com/ Anders Bornholm

        True, but as DeusRex pointed out it might not be 60-70 percent of musicians…

    • http://www.osirisguitar.com/ Anders Bornholm

      Of course it’s profit (predictions) that control if apps of this kind will appear on Android. I think your analysis about Apple being strong in the music community is right, and that reduces the potential market a lot for Android.

      However, although the same kind of special adaptation isn’t required for an amp sim as for a game, there is still adaptations of the GUI to different screens and LOTS AND LOTS of testing on different devices. That doesn’t exactly help when trying to calculate if it’s worth to introduce or port an amp sim to Android.

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