Linden Lab confirm Second Life iOS client in the making

Logos copyright and Trademark Linden Lab and Apple Inc., respectively

On January 9th, 2019, and thanks to a pointer from Whirly Fizzle, I blogged Lab working on a Second Life iOS client? noting that a Bit Bucket code repository had recently been set-up by Brad Linden for just such a purpose.

In writing the piece, which includes some of the Lab’s recent commentary of the subject of mobile / streaming solutions for Second Life, I indicated that I had contacted Linden Lab with a series of questions concerning the repository and what it might signify, and that I’d provide an update on receiving any reply.

Being so early into the work, the Lab declined to comment on all of the questions I asked, but here is what they did say via-email in responding to my enquiry:

As you point out, we discussed at our Town Hall events last year that we’re actively looking at ways to extend the reach of Second Life to new audiences including mobile platforms. For example, we’re in the early stages of work on an iOS companion app for Second Life.  

Right now we’re focused on getting a prototype out to our Residents, at which point we’ll be looking for feedback and suggestions. In the early stages, we will not be tying the app to a streaming service. However, we don’t have anything to formally announce yet about the specific features, capabilities, and availability.

– Brett Linden,  Second life Marketing Manager, via e-mail

Granted, it’s not a lot of information, but there are a couple of potentially interesting elements to the statement that might help contextualise things /  be indicative of some of the thinking still in place at the Lab. For example, the use of the term mobile platforms and noting that that the iOS work is offered as an example of this work.

This would perhaps suggests (and in answer to some of the questions asked following my original piece) that an Android client is still part of the Lab’s thinking. Certainly, it is something I’d anticipate, given both the popularity of the Android platform and the popularity of Lumiya and Mobile Grid Client*.

I also found the comment In the early stages, we will not be tying the app to a streaming service interesting, suggesting as it does that a future streaming solution is still very much part of the Lab’s broader thinking.

Again, this would make sense given the ongoing move of SL to the cloud. As well as providing the means to deliver SL as a whole to users, the cloud move further deepens the Lab’s relationship with AWS. This might in turn allow them to more positively and cost-effectively (to both the Lab and to users) supply a streaming service to mobile devices and web browsers at some point in the future. Perhaps this might even be part of a broader examination of their product offerings once Second Life is firmly established within a cloud-based infrastructure.

So, food for thought; in the meantime. I’ll continue to update on the iOS work as / if / when news emerges.

* I’m intentionally avoiding LightSight here, as it is questionable as to whether the app is still being maintained and the repeated complaints that users have been unable to log-in since the last update (October 2016).

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8 thoughts on “Linden Lab confirm Second Life iOS client in the making

  1. I’m curious, what nature such a companion app will have if streaming is an option, but not necessary.

    I still hope for a kind of officially-lumiya solution though. For the long game, a cloud-streaming solution might work, but I can’t see that going anywhere in the next few years. Chances are, that the cost of a streaming service will remain prohibitive for the time being: On mobile, both consistent bandwidth and sufficient data-allowances remain a problem, and even in-home Wifi streaming can struggle with latency.

    By comparison, Lumiya runs at least good enough on phones, and Firestorm/Singularity see viable frame-rates on integrated Intel HD graphics of recent laptops.

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    1. Yeah, Brett’s comment is interesting, but might simply be down to trying to answer what was a series of questions from me as concisely as possible.

      I’d have thought a companion app would be just that, an iOS (and hopefully Android) app that provides the essentials – messaging, chat, group capabilities, and perhaps basic inventory inventory solution. Streaming (should it come) would then provide the broader, more fully SL viewer access a-la SL Go and Bright Canopy. That’s pretty much as I tend to read the comment, rather than the client in development later going on to form a front end to a streaming service.

      In terms of streaming, SL Go via home network and running on an Android Nexus 7 HD (2013) never really gave me too many issues via latency – but for mobile, Lumiya did and does knock it into a cocked hat for sheer all-round convenience and data handling.

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  2. It’s a pity Linden Lab has taken so long to recognize the potential of bringing SL to mobile. There must be tremendous hurdles to manage, but the lab should have been started working on long ago, if only as a chat client to start. Modern tablets now have some pretty sophisticated graphics, so the potential is certainly there. Like many others, I pretty much live on my iPad these days, so a mobile client would be wonderful. I’m just hoping there will be a beta program I can enroll in.

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  3. Hi, yea finally. But then in the beginning they promised to make SANSAR all platforms, including MOBILE. and recently they took that of f the roadmap. And now for SL? (were land is TOO EXPENSIVE for most in order to develop bigger projects) and NOT for SANSAR?? I thinks that is really strange!
    They should bring out mobile clients for BOTH. As the saying goes out there in the big wide world: If anything is not on mobile, it does not exist! Look at roblox example … millions online!

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  4. This is DOA and a waste of time.

    Tumblr couldn’t survive on the app store because of questionable lewd content, all the press focus will be on SL’s salacious reputation as a place to have weird digital nookie, que a few screenshots of avatars humping on an ipad and it’s game over … and we all know the press will fake the pics if they have to.

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    1. I have very much that you’re wrong, but I fear you’re not. I hope for the best though.

      If by the time, that I need to replace my iPad, an official Viewer is available on Android, but has been blocked from iOS for these ridiculous “adult content is bad for adults” reasons, it might be enough to make me give Android tablets a try. Or Chrome-OS for that matter.

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