The Duolingo Android app is here!
The wait was long, but the Duolingo Android app is now available on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.duolingo
As is the Duolingo way, the app is completely free, with no ads, hidden fees, or paid “premium” content.
Instead of simply porting our iPhone app, we worked hard to make a truly native Android experience -- it’s fast, smooth and feels like Android.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be adding many new exciting features such as an offline mode, speaking exercises, and availability on tablets, so stay tuned!
Thanks for all the hard work! I've been wanting an Android app for Duolingo since the day I joined. A shame it doesn't work on tablets, but at least you're working on it and I can use my Nexus 4 in the meantime. Offline mode sounds like it'll be great for commutes, too!
EDIT: My thoughts on the app are so far very positive. I like that you can click the English words to fill in blanks for translations, yet you still have to type in the language you're learning. Spelling is important! However, and I realize this might be a bit "power user" and less suited to a mobile app, you can't mark hover hints as wrong or if something ought be marked correct. You, if you get something wrong, just see what the correct answer is but not what it translates to. It's a fantastic start to the app and I look forward to where it goes from here.
EDIT2: Someone said that it'd be good if you could optionally not have the word bubbles but rather just have to type everything in. I like that. Bubbles are faster and easier but feel like cheating.
I've been waiting for the app for ages, and I've had today highlighted prominently on my calendar since the release date was announced. It's like Christmas came at last!
You know, it would've been nice to have been told that it wasn't going to be available on tablets. As all I have is a Nexus 7, this turned out to be that Christmas where you unwrap the present to find an empty box with a printout saying that your present was back-ordered but will be coming as soon as it's back in stock.
Well, I'll shift back into "won't it be nice when..." mode now (well, after I read a few more reviews of what sounds like a wonderful app, hehe). If I could ask a very trivial favor for the temporarily disappointed tablet-only Duolingo fans, I'd ask you to please prominently note on http://duolingo.com/#/mobile once it's allowed on tablets. I'd hate to miss it once unexpectedly delayed Christmas does come at last.
"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Now are we there yet?" :D
I like it and i have used it a little bit, but I definitely feel as if this app is very closed off compared to the site. It doesn't appear that there is any way to get to the discussion, vocabulary, or immersion parts. Also, I can't look at any of my friend's profiles, my friends list, quick practice, or a lot of other parts that I can access on the site. I'm going to hope that these are things you'll bring on later, i understand this is just an initial offering on android.
Tl;DR Love it and I hope you bring more features to it in the upcoming months!
This might be useful for you: http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/11/kindle-fire-sideload/
Thanks, pont. Unfortunately, Google Play does not recognize the Kindle Fire as an android device, so it doesn't allow you to download the app (not even to your computer). The only way that the sideload would work is if you have an additional Android device to download the app to. The best solution for Kindle users would be if Duolingo releases the app on Amazon, or made the .apk file available for download on their website. I hope that happens. Unless anyone knows a better way. =)
I'm not a Kindle owner myself, but as far as I know the alternatives to downloading via a "proper" Android device are (1) using google to find a copy of the Duolingo apk (not great, since an apk from a random website might be tampered with and virus-laden) and (2) root the device (temporarily or permanently) which lets you install the Google Play store, as described at http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/ipad-and-tablets/how-to-get-the-google-play-store-on-the-kindle-fire-hd-50010454/ . Option (2) is what I'd do if I had a Kindle, but it's a bit complicated and apparently voids the warranty.
Thank you for going through that trouble to post some super tips! My device already accepts apps that are not amazon thanks to some modifications I have made (everything but rooting), and the risky links are a little scary to me. I'd rather see duolingo making it available somewhere else (in addition to the google play store)... that way I would totally get it. I don't know if it is complicated for them to make it available on amazon as well (there are many kindle users out there, and the screen is nice and big), or directly on the duolingo website. For now, I'll just keep using the computer for it... which is fine because keyboards are awesome in their own special way. =)
My wishlist for the app:
1) Offline mode (before I go on a 2 week holiday in a month)
2) Really need the option to move the app, or at least parts of the app to SD card. My phone has so much factory installed bloat that every KB of space is important. However I do have a 32GB SD card which has GBs of space.
3) Make the word tile mode harder, I'm seeing questions requiring two word answers e.g. 'The manager' and just three tiles to choose from, two of which are both 'the', one capitalised, the other not. That's not teaching anything.
4) I've no idea if the Android APIs make this possible, but it would be fantasic if the keyboard (swype etc) automatically switched between English and Portuguese/Spanish/German etc modes automatically. If there's any way to declare what language is expected in a textarea, then please make use of it.
The app works fine so far, it runs indeed very smoothly even on my low-end-smartphone (a big plus!) and looks very nice and tidy.
But I have some issues with it:
1) The word-scramble-questions are a great approach to mobile usability, but there are still the standard typing questions (or listen-and-type) which are quite annoying. I have either to turn off autocomplete (don't want to) or constantly switch between English and Spanish. It's very inconvenient; why not just stick with the word-scramble layout? And use a letter-scrambling approach if you test for single words (see the Memrise app).
2) Lessons are too long. While I have no problem with spending half an hour or more with Duolingo on my desktop, the app shouldn't require that much time. I clocked myself at ten minutes per lesson, which is - for a mobile app - too long. And extremely frustrating in case you fail at the last question, because of the "10 minutes wasted"-feeling (I know, learning IS failing and repeating, but it feels like one achieved nothing). At least for the practice mode I would like a "learn as long as you got time"-mode, where there wouldn't be a certain amount of questions to answer. Instead you would get question after question until you quit. This way, you were able to use the app and strengthen a few words even if you do not have 10+ minutes of spare time.
I like the concept of an app for Duolingo, but to me it seems that the differences of a mobile platform and its usage (keyword: time-filler) vs a desktop pc should be considered more.
I want an option opposite to what you mention in 1, in fact. I just did two lessons with the mobile app, but it felt to me like cheating, and the only way I got rid of that feeling was by redoing the lessons in the website and typing out all phrases. Duolingo staff: Can you add an option to allow for "normal" ("type it all out" instead of "pick words from a list") input on the mobile app? Thanks!
For having to swap between English and Spanish when typing, maybe check out Swiftkey. They have a combined en/es keyboard that is really convenient and will let you simultaneously use English and Spanish dictionaries. The keyboard itself is a slightly, slightly tweaked QWERTY layout but includes Spanish characters.
I'm using Swiftkey with both English (US) and French (FR) language packs installed and it works very well. The language switching is transparent to the user and the word suggestion popups help significantly preventing hunting for special characters (which are easily accessible in Swiftkey anyway). Also, Swiftkey Flow mode (read Swype) is available if you want to use it.
After some weeks of thorough testing I have to readjust my assessment a little:
1) Switching between keyboards is still annoying, but I don't see a way for the app to circumvent that easily and I also found it is an annoyance I can live with.
2) The app isn't the 2-minute-time-filler I expected it to be, but that only means that I use it only when I have the time for it. And, as many people have pointed out already, the app makes completing a lesson easier (some even called it "cheating"). Well, I like that, as it reduces the frustration that comes with failing too often. :)
The app isn't perfect (but then again: what is?) and I still would appreciate a "learn as long as you got time"-mode (think timed practice without a timer); but it is definitely usable and a practical addition to the site as it is right now. Who knows what the next updates might bring?
I apologize for the length of this post in advance, originally I wrote here that I'd try and keep this as concise as possible, but I failed miserably, so.. I'll just say I'm sorry and I really hope you'll be able to take something out of this.
I'm learning German, so I'll make reference to German throughout this post, but I think the ideas should translate to the other languages as well. I'd also like to add that I love the app and love Duolingo, and hope that my opinions will serve as a contribution and sign of my gratitude for all the work you've put into the platform.
My thoughts at first glance:
The app feels "easier" than the website. I'm still sure if I mean that in a good way or a bad way, but I'm completing lessons in ~5 minutes on the app, compared to ~10 minutes on the website, provided I'm focusing on duolingo. I plan on using the android app exclusively for 2-3 more days, then going back to the website and seeing if I'm learning faster, or if the app is too easy. I'll post my results when I've done this.
Thoughts on the tile system:
I believe these are the culprit for the app feeling easier than the website. I feel like they COULD be invaluable for learning proper grammar, but inefficient for learning new words. I think having to type the definition/word out helps it "stick".
Suggested changes to tile system:
First, for short sentences 3 word sentences, several times I've gotten 4 tiles to choose from. Those problems are nearly impossible to get wrong.
Here is a crude breakdown of a tile set I received and tiles that I feel like I should have received.<pre>
Translate to German - "The animal is tall."</pre>
Of the tiles presented to me, "Das" and "Tier" are the only capitalized options, which makes it an obvious giveaway. The rest of the tiles where mostly just random other words (many of them from previous lessons that I haven't seen since). I think a better way to handle the tiles, would be instead of focusing the exercise on picking the right words, the focus should be on picking the right form of the word for grammar practice. I think it would be much more challenging (and educational) if I had been presented tiles with the words below.<pre>
"Das", "Die", "Der", "Sie", "Es", "Ein", "Eine", "Hoch", "Haus", "ist", "isst", "bist", "Tier", "Tiere"</pre>
Bugs in the app itself:
My device : Nexus 4</pre>
Battery Drain - The app seems to drain battery quickly, much quicker than when doing something like reading email/RSS feeds (a little less than what I'd expect), probably comparable drain to playing some physics based 2D games (much more than what I'd expect). I'll try and get some more detailed information later.
Connection issues - This might be related to the battery drain. I'd say 20-30% of the submits fail due to "connection issues". This occurs on both WiFi (even when right next to router), and mobile data (even with strong 4G signal), so I'm inclined to believe it's an issue with the app itself.
Ideas for app:
Custom Keyboard - While it may be inconvenient when starting and closing the app, I feel like many people would benefit from a keyboard being bundled with the app (see the app "Terminal IDE" for an example of this being done). I use Swiftkeys and it's extremely easy to use, and work's quite well with the app. The only downside is that it shows me the correct spelling, and sometimes predicts what the next word will be. I could easily turn it off and it would be perfect, but unless there is a decent free multilingual keyboard available, bundling a keyboard would make things simple and fair for everyone (those who haven't/won't buy SwiftKeys).
Voice Recognition - I see it's on your to-do list, I just wanted to express desire for this feature. Since I don't have a microphone for my desktop, this feature is what I was looking forward to most in the android app.
Tap word and listen - I think it'd be nice to be able to tap a specific word you'd like to hear, in addition to playing the entire sentence.
Idea for learning style:
In a classroom, the biggest benefit is the ability to engage in conversation with your classmates. I think I've thought of a way to emulate this. It'd be challenging to implement, but I think it'd be an amazing learning tool. I'm using German as an example. For the end user it'd work like this, the app says a sentence in German, the user must speak the translation in English. If correct, the user is shown the correct reply written in English (could be spoken though), and must speak the translation in German. I think this could be implemented by scraping books in public domain with translations in both languages for dialog, omitting sentences with names (for simplicity). Or if you're feeling up to real challenge, doing something similar to cleverbot might prove to be beneficial.
I edited this numerous times to add in markdown for formatting to *try* and make this easier to read, It's better than it was, but it's still pretty bad. So I apologize again.</pre>
So I apologize again.
You don't need to apologise for anything. It's great to see someone put so much time and thought into a discussion thread comment.
On your point about connection issues I was also experiencing some non-syncs. But I put that down to it being release day and the servers being overloaded with the excitement around the android release and everyone wanting to try it out.
So far, I love the app so much. But, there's a little problem when I want to start a new lesson. This is the little problem: Sometimes, when I put my finger over the word that I don't know (new word in the lesson), appears a gray large arrow, but empty. That's the only think I want to report, 'cause apart from that, I LOVE the app so much and I'm having so much fun with it.
I love the android app! It runs incredibly well and I love the portability of it. I think it's already starting to replace Reddit as the first thing I launch when I'm bored and pull out my phone for no reason.
That being said, of course there's always room for improvement! My biggest suggestion is including access to the Tips and Discussion for each lesson and the Discussion for each question. That way I can read the grammar rules when I'm bouncing to new lessons and check the discussions when I'm confused about something in a question.
Otherwise it's amazing! As a brand new German learner I'm loving this app and your website!
I love the mobile app! Great job! However, the ones with the word banks are too easy. For example, the first word is always given because it is the only one capitalized. Then, the correct verb conjugation is the only one available. As far as the first word, maybe have them all lower case and the first selected word becomes capitalized. For the conjugation, maybe provide 2-3 different options. I would like the mobile app to be comparably challenging and right now it is not.
Keep up the good work! Thank You!
On the web app I can turn off sounds. So far in the mobile app I have only found how to turn off effects, but I would also like to turn off the voice that's speaking to me and work only with text. Otherwise I need headphones to finish lessons.
This seems like something that should be an obvious feature and I almost feel like I'm stupid for not seeing where it is.
I will also echo that the word bank questions are pretty easy, same capitalization issues as has been mentioned above numerous times.
I have to admit I started using Duolingo a long time ago and I left it dormant for a few months. When I saw there was an app, I really wanted to give it another try. Now, my problem is that I can't access the google play store because I am in China. Since your app is free, I think it would be useful to have a link directly connected to the .pkg file (for android) on your website.
I am a Home-school High school sophomore, and I am using Rosetta Stone to "learn" Spanish. It is SO STINKING CONFUSING. I discovered the Duolingo app in the trending section of google play on my Nexus 4 the other day. I have to say its fantastic. I am still using Rosetta stone for my highschool records (And yes, that means still doing the lessons. :-[ ), But I am learning everything that I miss in Rosetta stone with Duolingo. This is the best thing that has happened to be in a long time. :D
This app is awesome! Three little remarks yet: 1. We can only listen once to a dictated sentence, and sometimes the dictation of sentences simply doesn't work (the slow dictation always works, either). It would be fine if we could listen over and over, as it is also better for our listening skills. 2. Please include some speaking exercices in the mobile app, I am really missing them! 3. There should be a way of choosing whether we'd like to use the app in silent mode (no speaking exercices, no dictation, for example if we use the app on the underground) or not.
Thanks a lot for still expanding Duolingo!!! :)
I would like if at the end of the lesson when the list of words strengthened appears, if you could tap on the word and see the translation (like you can with certain highlighted words during the session) - just as a review in case you forgot any of them before you move on. Otherwise greatly enjoying the app, thank you!
Using a Droid Mini (mobile device is probably 3+ years old.)
Is there anyway you can access "Discussion" through a Droid platform on a mobile device?
On a PC laptop running Windows XP, I can but not on a Droid mobile device.
Please advise and thank you in advance. TR