14 years… It’s hard to believe, but that’s how long it’s been since Apple introduced AirPlay audio streaming (originally called AirTunes) with the release of the first AirPort Express. From Apple’s press release in 2004:
AirTunes is Apple’s breakthrough music networking technology which works seamlessly with iTunes running on either Macs or PCs to let users easily create a wireless music network in their home. iTunes 4.6 automatically detects remote speakers and displays them in a simple pop-up list for the user to select. Once the remote speakers are selected, AirTunes wirelessly streams the iTunes music from the computer to the AirPort Express base station. AirTunes music is encoded to protect it from theft while streaming across the wireless music network and uses Apple’s lossless compression technology to ensure no loss of sound quality.
When Apple in 2010 released iOS 4.2 with support for sending video to the 2nd gen Apple TV, they renamed AirTunes to AirPlay.
Since I co-founded doubleTwist a decade ago, we’ve been at the forefront of restoring digital media interoperability for users trapped in walled gardens. On Android we’ve supported AirPlay since 2011 and we currently support all three major protocols (AirPlay, Chromecast and DLNA). Whether you prefer to store your music locally or in a cloud service like OneDrive or Google Drive, we’ve got you covered with doubleTwist Player and CloudPlayer.
Like many others, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the launch of Apple’s first AirPlay speaker. We got our hands on the HomePod today for some testing and everything works flawlessly. Anything you can play in the doubleTwist apps (local music, cloud music, podcasts, radio) can be streamed to the HomePod.
Currently streaming my lossless music collection stored on Microsoft OneDrive to the Apple HomePod using my Google Pixel XL – sounds amazing!
When you buy an MP3 on Google Play from your Android phone, Google prevents competing apps and 3rd party developers from accessing the file using technical and legal means. It can only be played in Google’s Play Music app. If you thought DRM was dead, think again.
Google Play Music limits the number of devices you can use to listen to your own music and only allows you to “deauthorize” 4 devices per year, including phones and tablets. In addition, each time you flash your device with a popular custom ROM such as CyanogenMod, you use up one of your authorizations.
Google Play Music degrades the sound quality of lossless files such as FLAC and Apple Lossless by transcoding them to lossy MP3s.
Google Play Music doesn’t allow you to share your music library with other members of your household.
Once your music library is on Google’s servers, you can only download a song twice from the Play Music website back to your PC or Mac. Until the end of time.
Our philosophy at doubleTwist has always been to break down the walls that large corporate entities build around their platforms to lock you down. To further that goal, we’ve released a new Android app called CloudPlayer that turns your favorite cloud storage service into a giant jukebox. Your music — no limits!
MagicPlay is an open cross-platform audio streaming standard (think “HTTP for music”) that supports synchronized streaming to multiple speakers (like Sonos). For more details, see this Verge story. In the near future you’ll be able to buy WiFi speakers, TVs and other products that come with MagicPlay support out of the box. If you want to try MagicPlay right now, you can turn an existing device such as the Raspberry Pi into a MagicPlay device and stream music to it using doubleTwist Music Player for Android.
Android phone or tablet running Android 4.1 or higher
If you would like to skip building the source code, you can download a binary package instead.
1. Download the AllJoyn source code (AllJoyn is a P2P framework developed by Qualcomm to power the Internet of Things).
2. Unzip the AllJoyn code: tar -zxvf alljoyn-3.3.0-src.tgz; cd alljoyn-3.3.0-src
3. Clone the following two repositories:
4. Apply this patch: zcat magicplayd.diff.gz | patch -p0
5. Build AllJoyn library: make OS=linux CPU=armhf VARIANT=release
6. Build and install audio service: cd services/audio; make CPU=armhf; sudo make CPU=armhf install
The MagicPlay service (/etc/init.d/magicplayd) has now been installed and will automatically start on boot.
Note that if you want to use a USB sound card with MagicPlay on the Raspberry Pi, you will need to modify services/audio/src/posix/ALSADevice.cc prior to step #7 and replace “plughw:0,0” with “plughw:1,0” and “hw:0” with “hw:1” (since the USB sound card would be sound card #2).
The Nexus doesn’t come with any iTunes-style companion software, either. Enterprising techies know about the free DoubleTwist program for Mac or Windows, which simulates iTunes for the purposes of loading up your phone with music, photos and videos.
Google doesn’t supply any equivalent to Apple’s iTunes or the BlackBerry media-syncing software. However, the third-party program doubleTwist, available at doubletwist.com, is designed to function as a sort of iTunes for syncing Android, Palm and BlackBerry devices.
We released a new version of doubleTwist for Mac OS X today (v1.0b15 r2806, release notes). When you connect an Android phone like the Google Nexus One, doubleTwist now presents instructions on how to mount the phone.
We’ve also put the mounting instructions up at Mount Android (requires Chrome, Safari or Firefox).
For our “The Cure for iPhone Envy” ad campaign we leased the window on the BART exit outside the SF Apple Store. Our contract with BART’s ad agency specified that the ad would go up on Monday morning, the day of the WWDC keynote. However, the ad agency jumped the gun and our ad went up on Friday the weekend before. Shortly after the ad was put up, it was ripped down by a BART employee. A tipster sent me pictures of this happening:
BART’s excuse for ripping down the ad was that it was “too dark” and not letting through enough light into the BART exit. However, we have pictures that show there was plenty of light coming through the ad (the ad is printed on a clear plastic material):
We then submitted the following revised ad with a white background. A white ad would have let even more light through (notice how bright the bottle is in the original ad above). However, it was rejected for having a solid white background (!).
At the ad agency’s request, we then made the background completely transparent. It’s a lot harder to read text on a transparent background… After complying with all their requests to change the ad, we still haven’t been given a firm date on when the ad will be back up.
Apple is a major BART advertiser (in the past they’ve plastered entire BART stations with iPod ads). Apple’s WWDC conference ends on Friday. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on here… I’m sure our ad will conveniently be back up after WWDC ends.