SoundCloud wants to make it easier to listen to music and other embedded audio files from any device. The popular social audio-sharing service announced today that they've launched an HTML5 player for audio clips, allowing playback on tablets and smartphones.
Until now, the SoundCloud player, like so many of its kind, was built in Flash. The service has native apps for Android and iOS, which are lovely, but not terribly useful when one stumbles across a sound clip embedded on a Web page while browsing from an iPad or iPhone.
This new HTML5 player changes that, at least for the users that opt to use it. To utilize the new player, one has to go into the "Customize Player" options and choose the HTML5 tab. It's a little buried, but that's probably appropriate considering the feature is only in beta.
The advantages of this new widget go beyond cross-device compatibility, although that's certainly a huge one. Because it doesn't rely on clunky, proprietary Flash technology, it should be faster and less resource-intensive to playback audio this way. It also provides for more speedy development moving forward.
The new widget has a long way to go before becoming the default player, but this first iteration is pretty impressive overall. It even supports time-based commenting within the audio waveform like the standard player.
SoundCloud is just the latest company to jump on the HTML5 bandwagon, recognizing that tablets and smartphones are only going to continue to proliferate and to stay competitive, companies that specialize in Web content that used to depend on Flash need to adopt the new standard as soon as they can.
The service has had its own native apps for Android and iPhone for awhile, and just launched an iPad app last week.