DoubleTwist, one of the pioneering app developers for Android, released a completely new version of its music player today that offers support for Android 4.4 KitKat and an all-new interface specifically designed for tablets. The new app has a cleaner, easier to use design with a prominent focus on images and album art.
DoubleTwist made a name for itself back in the early days of Android by offering well designed apps that were typically better looking and easier to use than the competition. The media player, its most popular app, was one of the first to let Android users sync their phones with iTunes. It also supports wireless syncing and wireless streaming of music and other content to Apple TV, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and other AirPlay and DLNA compatible devices.
The new app is cleaner and easier to use and better fits in with today's Android
The company says that its transformation to better conform to Android's design standards was a two-part act. Earlier this year, the company released an update that added some new design elements but still maintained many of the custom dialog boxes and other signature parts of the app. Today's update completes the new look and feel, but still retains doubleTwist's character. It also adds better playlist management and the all-new layout for tablets.
In an interview earlier this year, doubleTwist executives Monique Farantzos and Jon Lech Johansen told The Verge that they purposely did not bend to every design whim that Google came out with as Android developed. Early iterations of Android greatly varied in how they looked and felt, and doubleTwist was able to stay consistent by essentially staying above the fray. But as Android matured around a set design pattern (commonly known as "Holo," introduced with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich), the doubleTwist app started to look out of place and out of date. The team set about redesigning the app once it was clear that Google wasn't going to veer much from the Holo design scheme in future versions of Android.
Google Play Music is the elephant in the room
The new doubleTwist is a very complete media player, with playlist support, wireless syncing and streaming, support for podcasts, and a subscription streaming radio service called Magic Radio. The company has also developed an open-source version of Apple's AirPlay technology for wireless streaming. But the big elephant in the room is Google's own Play Music All Access, which comes preinstalled on nearly every Android device. It provides cloud-based storage as well as on-demand access to millions of songs, two features that doubleTwist doesn't currently match. Still, if DoubleTwist can pair its legacy of great design with newer innovative features, it could still have an audience willing to use its products.