SoundGecko updated to correct bug caused by the Windows Phone Store

SoundGecko has received an update that fixes a major usability issue with the initial release. However, unlike most patches, the cause wasn’t with the developer, but instead with the Windows Phone Store. When you release an app for all three major smartphone platforms and achieve feature parity across the board, you expect all users to have a similar experience. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case for SoundGecko when it launched for Windows Phone back in September. 

If you aren’t familiar with SoundGecko I’ll give you the quick version. It’s a service that takes articles on the web you select and transcribes them to give you an audio version of the article – perfect for commuters or anyone wanting to ‘read’ while not being able to look at a screen. Read our first post and impressions on it right here.


So back at launch, users would download the app and navigate, but once they tried to play a file and listen to an article, there would be no sound. Angry customers left reviews blaming the developer and cursing them into oblivion. The team behind SoundGecko tried everything to find the cause of the bug, but couldn’t replicate it themselves. When they deployed the app to their handsets through Visual Studio it worked flawlessly, but anyone getting it from the store could not get audio to work. The root of the problem is best described by developer Long Zheng, member of the development team:

"The actual problem as it turns out is that “background audio” is not properly detected by the Windows Phone Store’s “capabilities detector”. As a security measure, this process exists to overwrite the declared app capabilities by the developer (in the manifest) by analysing the source code of the app submitted to the Store. The problem is it hasn’t worked correctly since 2011 it seems.The capability “ID_CAP_MEDIALIB” is necessary for our app to function, but the capabilities detector never figures that out. The workaround is to add a single line of arbitrary code, code that has no use to our app, that the detector will identify and add the required capability."

You can imagine how frustrating it must have been for him and his team to launch SoundGecko to poor reviews from the community. However, by identifying the problem they were able to work on an update and we can report the app works great Lumia 920 and other handsets. We first reported about this app back in September and think you should give it a go now that it works as intended. Check out the app for free right here in the WP Store or use the QR code below.

Have you developed for Windows Phone and experienced something similar? Let us know in the comments.

Source: I Started Something

Sam Sabri