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18 February, 2016

What apps can I use to edit video on Android?

Colleague Jessica Combes asks: “What would you recommend for editing video on Android?”

My answer: Editing quality video remains a problem on the Android platform due to fragmentation of the OS and handsets.

Apple has the clear lead related to their investment in making their own chips, their patents, and their integration to support pro video on all devices at the chip level. Those types of integration are really important to lock together at the atomic level, because digital video editing is one of the most demanding things you can ask any computer to do. 

The real question is how is it even possible in the first place to edit multitrack video on a smartphone?

Producing pro video for mobile devices was a strategic investment made by Apple years ago and it is the reason that iOS filmmakers have powerful video editing apps like iMovie, Replay, Clips video editor, Storyline, and YouTube Capture. Apple spent billions of dollars over several years to build their chip factory alone.

It is because of these fundamental differences that Google can offer a decent (and free) clips editor for iOS (YouTube Capture) but can’t offer the same app for Android users. 

On Android there is really only KineMaster for editing a video with multiple tracks (for cutaways and voice over recording) and it costs $5 a month to use. I suspect that the subscription model is due, in part, to having to license patents in order to make the app work.

KineMaster's developers have restricted the app to a specific suite of Android phones and tablets. Most Samsung mobile devices are supported, but no Motorola device is.

UPDATE from my fellow #MOJO, Florian:

Kinemaster developers require you know the exact "chipset" you have installed on your device in order to know if it is compatible.

This graphic illustrates that it is the chip integration with the OS that is the fundamental difference between Apple and non-Apple devices. and it is in video editing apps that the performance and compatibility gap is most visible.

If your device isn't supported you won't be able to purchase and install the app from the Google Play Store.

Some Android users are able to use Periscope for live video and also the Twitter app to record and edit basic video videos up to 30 second in length. (Again, because of fragmentation, these features are not available to all Android users)

If you want to make better video with your smartphone there are 100 more lessons like this one in the Smart Film School: