Today I discovered a weird convergence of the two big issues I posted previously. It started when I discovered DSub, an Android Subsonic client that ROCKS! The regular Android Subsonic client–called simply “Subsonic” was decent, but lacked some crucial features and functionality that made me lean more toward Audiogalaxy when they were both excellent streaming music server options. DSub is (and looks a lot like) the Subsonic client on steroids! It’s open-source, so I’m guessing it’s the same client at it’s base, just customized to be much better. It’s like the “full version” of the Android Subsonic client! It costs $1.99, but it’s well worth it! Anyway, one of the big features of this app that just punched me in the face and woke me up today, is an option in its settings called “Temporary loss of focus”. It has 4 options under it: “Always Pause”, “Pause and lower volume when requested”, “Always lower volume”, and “Do Nothing”. I didn’t realize what this weird function was until I clicked on it and saw these 4 options…. then it hit me–THIS is the feature than an audio-heavy app needs, to know what to do when another sound plays on the Android device!
So now I was on a mission. I set it to “Always Pause”, threw on my winter coat, and hopped in the car for a ride around the neighborhood. I turned setup Google Navigation to take me to work, started up my DSub music, then drove around the neighborhood while Google Navigation kept interrupting my song to give me directions. It was FLAWLESS! DSub paused every time when the Navigation started talking, and all is right with my (Android) world again! So next I started up an Audible book and drove around some more… Bummer. Audible isn’t working that way, and keeps playing now, blending the two voices of the book and the navigation into something very confusing (and potentially dangerous if I were relying on actual directions while driving). So I came back home and send a support e-mail to Audible. They responded very quickly to another question I had previously, so I am anxiously awaiting their response to this one. Here’s what I wrote:
I listen to my audible books heavily on my Android phone during my daily commute, along with Google Navigation. I’ve been having a problem recently, however: The audible application no longer pauses when Google Navigation speaks–they both talk at once, which can sometimes make me miss a turn or direction unless I’m constantly watching the GPS directions on the screen.
After some research on the web, and finding other apps that still work ok and pause for the navigation, I have realized that it might be something that has changed in the Audible app.
I also found this explanation on Audible regarding a slightly different issue:
“We have received reports from users of the Audible for Android application, that the Audible application pauses at random. Upon further investigation, we have found that other applications may ‘steal’ the audio focus for no apparent reason when running in the background. The Audible for Android application respects audio focus requests to pause or stop playback. At the current time, the only means of resolution is to uninstall the offending application from your phone.”
To me, it seems like the Audible application used to respect the audio focus change, but now it no longer does. Can I get this ability back? Maybe if I uninstall and reinstall the app?? Or was something actually removed in the app so that it will no longer auto-pause like it used to?
Please let me know if there’s anything I, or Audible, can do to resolve this issue. I’m afraid I would no longer be able to safely listen to audiobooks in my car (with Audible) if this can’t be fixed, and I’d have to seek another alternative.
That’s it. I’m pretty sure they took this ability out of their app, but we’ll see if there might be a way to correct it’s behavior and make it work. It worked properly ever since I first subscribed to Audible and started listening to books in the car. I’ll post the response I get.
Wow, Audible is quick. About an hour after sending that support message to them this evening, they responded. They gave me a $10 coupon for my trouble, apologized, and said there’s an update for the app, and I need to completely uninstall, delete the Audible folder, then install the updated version. So I did all of this, but was unable to completely remove the application, since it came pre-installed on my phone. I could only uninstall the updates. So I did that much and deleted the folder. Then ran Audible, signed in and downloaded a book. I played the book, then started Google Navigation. Sure enough, it worked great by pausing the book when driving directions were spoken, then resumed the book again right after. Next I installed the latest update from the app store and did it again. Crap! It went back to having the issue again by completely ignoring the driving directions and playing the book right through them. Back to the drawing board!
This definitely proves it’s something in the updated versions though, so it helps. I e-mailed support again, as a reply, so they have the entire history of the issue. I asked that, if they don’t want to have the auto-pause feature due to a lot of users having the “random pausing issue” they talk about on their help page, why not add it as an option that the user can toggle in the app’s settings? I’ll let you know what they say.
For now though, I’m back to listening to my books in the car–I just can’t update my Audible App beyond the version that came with my phone.