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Samsung Audio Acordes, a Free App That Helps Visually Impaired People Play Guitar

Last month, Samsung Electronics Brazil announced the launch of Samsung Audio Acordes (Chords), a free application that teaches people with visual impairments to play the guitar in a practical and intuitive way. The initiative is part of Samsung Social, a project from Samsung Electronics Brazil that uses technology to unlock human potential and invites people to Do What You Can’t.

 

Samsung Audio Acordes, using a voice system, helps visually impaired people learn to play the guitar

 

Using  a voice system, Samsung Audio Acordes acts as a facilitator for blind or visually impaired people to learn to play the guitar. The app offers beginners an audio dictionary that teaches them how to play chords and can also tell users when to play which chord as a song progresses. It is especially helpful because  the app eliminates some of the barriers such as the need to know how to read braille, which is only understood by 10% of visually impaired people in Brazil, or having to stop playing every now and then to read the music with the same hands they play the instrument.

 

 

“Samsung believes in the human potential and in the transformative power of music and technology which has resulted in Samsung Audio Chords,” said Andrea Mello, Director of Corporate Marketing, Samsung Electronics Brazil. “The application is part of the company’s effort to offer people with visual impairments the opportunity to pursue their dreams of learning to play the guitar. It was designed in such a way as to offer total support and accessibility, even for those who are only learning their first chords.”

 

Samsung Audio Acordes is available in the Play Store for Android smartphones and tablets from version 4.4 onwards.

Verifying your Google Assistant media action integrations on Android

Posted by Nevin Mital, Partner Developer Relations

The Media Controller Test (MCT) app is a powerful tool that allows you to test the intricacies of media playback on Android, and it's just gotten even more useful. Media experiences including voice interactions via the Google Assistant on Android phones, cars, TVs, and headphones, are powered by Android MediaSession APIs. This tool will help you verify your integrations. We've now added a new verification testing framework that can be used to help automate your QA testing.

The MCT is meant to be used in conjunction with an app that implements media APIs, such as the Universal Android Music Player. The MCT surfaces information about the media app's MediaController, such as the PlaybackState and Metadata, and can be used to test inter-app media controls.

The Media Action Lifecycle can be complex to follow; even in a simple Play From Search request, there are many intermediate steps (simplified timeline depicted below) where something could go wrong. The MCT can be used to help highlight any inconsistencies in how your music app handles MediaController TransportControl requests.

Timeline of the interaction between the User, the Google Assistant, and the third party Android App for a Play From Search request.

Previously, using the MCT required a lot of manual interaction and monitoring. The new verification testing framework offers one-click tests that you can run to ensure that your media app responds correctly to a playback request.

Running a verification test

To access the new verification tests in the MCT, click the Test button next to your desired media app.

MCT Screenshot of launch screen; contains a list of installed media apps, with an option to go to either the Control or Test view for each.

The next screen shows you detailed information about the MediaController, for example the PlaybackState, Metadata, and Queue. There are two buttons on the toolbar in the top right: the button on the left toggles between parsable and formatted logs, and the button on the right refreshes this view to display the most current information.

MCT Screenshot of the left screen in the Testing view for UAMP; contains information about the Media Controller's Playback State, Metadata, Repeat Mode, Shuffle Mode, and Queue.

By swiping to the left, you arrive at the verification tests view, where you can see a scrollable list of defined tests, a text field to enter a query for tests that require one, and a section to display the results of the test.

MCT Screenshot of the right screen in the Testing view for UAMP; contains a list of tests, a query text field, and a results display section.

As an example, to run the Play From Search Test, you can enter a search query into the text field then hit the Run Test button. Looks like the test succeeded!

MCT Screenshot of the right screen in the Testing view for UAMP; the Play From Search test was run with the query 'Memories' and ended successfully.

Below are examples of the Pause Test (left) and Seek To test (right).

MCT Screenshot of the right screen in the Testing view for UAMP; a Pause test was run successfully. MCT Screenshot of the right screen in the Testing view for UAMP; a Seek To test was run successfully.

Android TV

The MCT now also works on Android TV! For your media app to work with the Android TV version of the MCT, your media app must have a MediaBrowserService implementation. Please see here for more details on how to do this.

On launching the MCT on Android TV, you will see a list of installed media apps. Note that an app will only appear in this list if it implements the MediaBrowserService.

Android TV MCT Screenshot of the launch screen; contains a list of installed media apps that implement the MediaBrowserService.

Selecting an app will take you to the testing screen, which will display a list of verification tests on the right.

Android TV MCT Screenshot of the testing screen; contains a list of tests on the right side.

Running a test will populate the left side of the screen with selected MediaController information. For more details, please check the MCT logs in Logcat.

Android TV MCT Screenshot of the testing screen; the Pause test was run successfully and the left side of the screen now displays selected MediaController information.

Tests that require a query are marked with a keyboard icon. Clicking on one of these tests will open an input field for the query. Upon hitting Enter, the test will run.

Android TV MCT Screenshot of the testing screen; clicking on the Seek To test opened an input field for the query.

To make text input easier, you can also use the ADB command:

adb shell input text [query]

Note that '%s' will add a space between words. For example, the command adb shell input text hello%sworld will add the text "hello world" to the input field.

What's next

The MCT currently includes simple single-media-action tests for the following requests:

  • Play
  • Play From Search
  • Play From Media ID
  • Play From URI
  • Pause
  • Stop
  • Skip To Next
  • Skip To Previous
  • Skip To Queue Item
  • Seek To

For a technical deep dive on how the tests are structured and how to add more tests, visit the MCT GitHub Wiki. We'd love for you to submit pull requests with more tests that you think are useful to have and for any bug fixes. Please make sure to review the contributions process for more information.

Check out the latest updates on GitHub!

A Diverse Music Community is a Very Good Thing

By Tamara Hrivnak, Head of Music Business Development and Partnerships, Facebook

Independent artists and labels are an important part of a rich music tapestry. Each of their voices and sounds matter to people. And people matter to Facebook. We are excited to continue partnering with the independent community to build more ways to bring people together through music in user videos and new social features on Facebook, Instagram, Oculus and Messenger.

Independent labels have been at the forefront of innovation and have embraced new opportunities on our platforms. Today, we are announcing key partnerships with the world’s leading independent companies.

Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO, commented: “Merlin’s global membership is at the heart of the evolution of the global digital market, in which digital innovation is delivering previously untapped value. This exciting new partnership ensures that the world’s leading independents are set to benefit from Facebook’s multi-platform music strategy, both now and into the future.”

Jeremy Sirota, Independent Label BD Lead, Facebook, said: “We are excited to partner with the thousands of global labels represented by Merlin, Beggars, [PIAS] and Ingrooves. We value their history and artists, and we’re thrilled that they’re supportive of Facebook’s vision of what music can bring to people on our platforms. This is just the beginning – we look forward to continuing to expand opportunities for the independent community to empower their voices.”

Simon Wheeler, Director of Digital and Strategy, Beggars Group, said: “We’re happy to be working with Facebook to enable the billions of Facebook and Instagram users to enrich their posts with licensed music from their favourite artists for the first time. Together we’re aiming to redefine how music is used within UGC to generate new and truly incremental revenue streams for our artists.”

“[PIAS] has always worked with the world’s most creative and inspirational independent artists and labels and has a firm belief that music makes the world a better place. Facebook’s ongoing commitment to such repertoire and recognition of its value is highly encouraging. We’re pleased that Facebook is fairly compensating rightsholders, and we look forward to working closely with them to help artists and labels develop exciting new ways to engage with global audiences,” said Adrian Pope, Chief Digital Officer, [PIAS].

“We are excited to partner with Facebook to allow access to our incredible catalog of independent label content,” said Bob Roback, CEO of Ingrooves. “This deal both fairly compensates our labels and expands their opportunities to cultivate deeper engagement with their fans across the dynamic Facebook platforms.”

Our partnerships with Merlin, Beggars, [PIAS] and Ingrooves will provide people with access to music from a significant number of independent artists – music as diverse and unique as they are. We’re thrilled that independents are joining Facebook on our journey to build community together with music.

About these partners:
Merlin is the global digital rights agency for the independent label sector, and represents the largest basket of rights outside of the three major labels – with access to music from thousands of leading independent record labels across more than 50 countries.

The Beggars Group is one of the world’s largest, fastest growing and most respected label groups, is completely independent and was founded by Martin Mills who remains Chairman. It is home to 4AD, Matador Records, Rough Trade, Young Turks and XL Recordings. Artists signed to the group’s labels such as FKA Twigs, Queens Of The Stone Age, Radiohead, The National and The xx and have achieved both commercial success and wide critical acclaim.

[PIAS] champions some of the best independent music in the world, representing repertoire from both our own imprints and across a wide range of highly respected partner and distributed labels. [PIAS] is proud to have played a role in successful campaigns for amazing artists such as Agnes Obel, Alt-J, Editors, Faith No More, Father John Misty, Flume, Goldfrapp, John Grant, Matt Simons, Melanie de Biasio, Milky Chance, Oasis, Pixies and Texas, to name but a few.

Ingrooves is a modern global music distribution and marketing services company which represents a wide range of independent labels and artists – providing them innovative marketing solutions, a powerful technology platform and data-driven insights to succeed in today’s dynamic music marketplace.

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