If you’ve got a beloved Android smartphone (or even tablet), here’s some rare news: there’s a new Android-exclusive music-making tool available. Polaris gives you quick-and-easy sequencing, modulation, synthesis, and sample manipulation in an elegant, minimal interface. And it looks perfect for quick sketching when you’re flying in coach or passing some spare moments.

It’s not that Android is entirely lacking in music tools – think FL Studio Mobile and SunVox, for instance (both cross-platform), plus BandLab, Roland Zenbeats, and classic Android app RD4. But for anyone upset that, for instance, Ableton Note went iOS-only, here you get an Android-exclusive answer. That’s good to see, especially as the iPhone can command a big price premium, particularly in certain markets.

There’s a nice feature set:

  • 6 tracks
  • Sequencer with per-step modulation (volume, cutoff, decay, pitch)
  • Per-track step length control (for polymeters)
  • Step trig conditions – so you could play just once every 2 or 4 loops, for instance (oddly hard to do this in some desktop software, cough!)
  • Sample engine with user sample import
  • Dual-oscillator synth engine
  • Multimode filter with its own envelope
  • Distortion
  • Reverb and delay sends
  • Included sample set / presets

It’s a nicely-balanced feature set, with some significant features but nothing overwhelming. it also has a clear, minimal design that fits well with the Android design language – without being intrusive. I love both the design and the graphic work done around it; it’s really gorgeous.

Developer Baptiste Le Goff wrote to say he’s just posted a getting started guide so you see how it works.

I think you do have to import samples rather than having live recording, which looks like an oversight, but otherwise this looks really phone friendly.

It’s also stupidly inexpensive – 3.99€. That seems a good way to stave off piracy; this is a no-brainer. It also means it could assist in outfitting a studio or classroom with a variety of low-cost Android tablets and – some of you have beautiful Android flagship smartphones I know you’d like to use, too:

Meteaure Polaris

Check it out, Android users:

Baptiste, an Arturia veteran, is a dedicated Android evangelist, and if you’re curious to try Android dev yourself, he’s even got a completely free developer course at musichackspace:

Android Audio Development Fundamentals – On-demand