Kindle Fire A Kindle Fire, which the app can be run on Credit: Image by kodomut on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Audio service ipadio has launched a new audio and video-recording Android app with in-app editing and the ability to upload large files in areas with patchy data connectivity.

The free app can also run on Kindle Fire, as well as Android phones, tablets and 'phablets', the word being bandied about by some to describe phones with larger screens (let's hope someone comes up with a better term).

The app – which was released on Christmas day – could be useful for any journalist with an Android device or Kindle Fire who has ever attempted to share audio or video in an area without a 3G signal.

Developers for ipadio are currently building a similar audio and video recording and editing app for iOS devices.

Founder and chief executive of ipadio Mark Smith told Journalism.co.uk that the company decided to develop an app for Android before one for Apple due to some Android devices such as the Samsung Note and the Galaxy offering the ideal screen size for editing, especially for people with "man-size fingers".

"The iPhone broke the mould with smartphones," Smith noted, but thinks the screen size is not ideal for some of the tasks phones can be used for. "The iPad is too big, the iPhone is too small," he said.

ipadio is now working on developing the app and planning to add multitrack editing to provide a phablet-sized audio editing suite.

"The next generation of functionality is clearly to take the app more towards the quality of an application like [audio editor] Audacity and underlay other sounds and create, for example, a full on podcast using the device in your hand."

But for now one of the advantages of ipadio's new app is that it can upload audio and video to a user's ipadio channel in areas without 3G. The audio is saved on the phone and can be uploaded publicly or privately to the user's channel, can be shared on social media, and can be embedded within a blog post using the HTML5 or Flash ipadio player.

We have a technology which chunks up the audio into small pieces and then uses whatever broadband or mobile connection the device has at that moment in timeMark Smith, ipadio
"We have a technology which chunks up the audio into small pieces and then uses whatever broadband or mobile connection the device has at that moment in time," Smith explained.

"It goes into a queue and in essence what the app does it sends that audio message up as quickly as it can with the connectivity it has got. Even if the app is closed down it continues uploading, with virtually no impact on battery life."

A bit of background

Journalism.co.uk met up with Smith yesterday to learn about the London-based company's progression since its launch back in 2007.

ipadio (pronounced i-pay-di-o and yes, the company owns ipad.io, registered three years before the launch of the iPad), stands for internet protocol radio, as that is how it started out.

Smith was working on a group of sports websites providing live updates of results by text when he realised that a phone service would be effective for updating hockey scores and the like.

"We had a simple notion of livestreaming a telephone call from anywhere in the world," he explained.

Smith launched ipadio in five-and-a-half years ago and the service came to the attention of many when it was used by aid agencies as a method of communication in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake of 2010.

ipadio has long had an iPhone and Android app for livestreaming phone calls – what it calls phonecasting – and has a really useful solution for journalists looking to record phone interviews when using an iPhone. For the price of a local call, you can patch in ipadio and record the conversation.

Offering something different in audio

Although ipadio pre-dates audio services such as Audioboo and SoundCloud, which are perhaps better known by journalists, ipadio has been busy developing its business model.

Instead of concentrating on building a community of audio creators and lovers with a view to making money by charging users, ipadio has focused on working with corporates and its core business is now providing telephony services to firms such as water companies where employees are in the field.

Smith describes this service as "innovative corporate comms". The chief executive of a utility company can send a text message or audio message to all employees, who receive it by phone no matter how remote a location they are in and whether they are in an area with data connectivity.

By making its money through corporates, Smith makes the promise that ipadio will always be free to consumers, such as journalists.

An app for the Paralympics

And by taking on different projects, the small company develops technologies.

ipadio developed an app for Samsung to "support athletes at last year’s Paralympic Games". Smith described this as his "proudest moment" as he watched as "user-generated videos were uploaded by the athletes".
 
Around 700 videos were uploaded from the app, Smith said. They received "millions of views" and it "was clear insight into where mobile video is going next".

Smith and colleagues developed the technology to upload videos in areas of low bandwidth and patchy data connectivity with a view that wifi and 3G connections might struggle with the sheer volume of people at the Games using their phones to tweet, post to Facebook and share images and footage. Developers have since used this experience to develop the new Android audio and video app.

Next steps

In addition to developing an app for iPad and iPhone, and building the option of multitrack editing, ipadio is applying to have the new audio and video app in the Kindle store. In the mean time, those wishing to use the app on the Kindle Fire can download the app from Google Play store, email a link with the AP code file, open the email on the Kindle Fire and double click to install.

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