Embedded audio help, Android, Blackberry, iPhone, oh my!

Hi folks,

I am working on researching mobile web development as a possible avenue for e-learning content delivery. A common way to deliver e-learning lessons is to use audio with visuals to reinforce the lesson. The ideal way to deliver content to users who can hear is to allow the user to play the audio while exploring visual diagrams at the users own pace.

This is the first time I have used audio on a mobile website and what I am finding in my research at this time is it may not possible to present the same experience for users across BlackBerry, Android, and iPhone. Even if I were to limit the site to BlackBerry 5.0 OS and Andriod 2.2, I can not get audio to play in the users browser while the user continues to view the site. The iPhone is the only platform that this delivery format works for.

My company specializes in e-learning and we have clients interested in mobile learning websites that require audio and visuals. The tricky part is, clients want to be able to support Blackberry, Android, and iPhone. They know this might not work so some offered to restrict project requirements to newer BlackBerries (5.0+) and Andriod (2.2+).

To me it looks like the only thing most blackberrys (or all) will support are audio files that can play in the phones native audio player, which means the user is forced to leave the site, and then when the file is done playing they have to close the audio player and open their web browser again. This is not very useful for learning content delivery and I am assuming audio delivery would work the same on an Android.

I have found some possibilities (have not tested them) for example, there are a number of different jQuery and JavaScript players available but I am not familiar enough with javascript support on the BlackBerry to consider it a surefire solution.

At this point it is looking like video is the only way to deliver audio and visual learning.

Does anyone have any suggestions or tips? Are the jQuery/JavaScript audio players the way to go for Android and BlackBarries? Is this format of content delivery even possible yet?

Any resources on the subject would be helpful as I’m having difficulty finding any information about the subject. (example sites would be appreciated)

Thanks for reading if you made it this far!

There are several audio players I’m aware of. Do yo have access to an Android or Blackberry? If so, test these links to see if the audio plays in them:

Demo : jPlayer as an audio player

Flowplayer - Flash Video Player for the Web

I do have two androids (2.1 2.2) and a blackberry of unknown OS, possibly a 6 as it is brand new, I’m not sure though I have to steal it.

Thanks for the tips I’ll check it out and let you know how it goes.

Great. I’d love to know how they perform on those devices, as I don’t have them to test on.

I had some time to sit down and look at this plug-in, unfortunately it dose not have enough of a fall back for mobile devices. If the HTML5 audio tag is not supported then the fall back is flash which is not mobile friendly.

Thanks for the suggestion. At this time I have come to the conclusion that native audio in mobile phone browsers is not possible at this time, at least with older BBs and android. It might be possible with Android 3 (if the promised updates happen) and BB OS6 but the market is too small at this time to focuses on those phones.

I’d add that our experience has been no one really listens to browser-based audio in a mobile site. You probably want to build an app that lets one play audio and view the lesson offline.