Before there even was an iPad or iPhone, there was Lemur. The touch-based controller device was theoretically the first-ever consumer multi-touch hardware. Early adopters connected the pricey smart display via Ethernet to a computer, and wowed friends with flying faders and bouncing balls and new ways of doing everything from manipulating spatial audio to playing instruments.
Then, the iPad arrived, and Lemur had a new life as an iOS-only app. For many of us, it’s alone reason enough to own an Apple tablet.
But Apple tablets are pricey. Android tablets are cheap. And Android tablets are increasingly available in more sizes. So, maybe you want to run Lemur on Android. Maybe it’s your only tablet. Or maybe you’re just worried that now your live performance set depends on an iPad mini, and if it dies, you’re out hundreds more – so Android is an appealing backup.
Well, now, Lemur has come to Android. It wasn’t easy; it required lots of additional testing because of the variety of devices out there and weird peculiarities of making Android development work properly. (Disclosure: I was one of Lemur’s testers, and was gratified when it suddenly started working on my Nexus 7, which is a fairly excellent low-cost device.)
But now it’s here. And it’s fantastic. Nick from Liine came to our monthly mobile music app meetup in Berlin and showed us just how easy it is to code your own custom objects using the canvas – more on that soon. But combine that with a stable app for hosting your own creations, and Lemur is simply indispensable. It’s US$24.99 on the Google Play store.
Oh, and one more thing: wires.
Yes, sure, part of the appeal of tablets is wireless control. That allows you to walk around a performance venue, for instance, whilst controlling sounds and mixing. But in live situations, it sure is nice to avoid wifi connection problems and depend on a conventional wire. On both Android and iOS, this requires a special driver – at least if you want to connect directly via USB. But there’s already a free and open source Mac driver for Android, and it works really nicely with Lemur:
I am absolutely going to start carrying both my Nexus 7 and my iPad mini – I now never have to worry that one tablet will die or the iPad WiFi will decide to stop working int he middle of a show. I might even put them in different bags. You know – redundancy. And for Android lovers, this is great news. (They’ve been getting a handful of excellent apps lately, which, while nowhere near the iOS ecosystem, still mean you can get a lot of use out of an Android tablet. But that’s a story for another day.)
More on Lemur:
And grab it from the Google Play store: