I've been watching this thread for months, anxious to read an update. It's been entertaining. There are some recurring points I wanted to address.
1. Poweramp - Paying for an upgrade. The belief is this lengthy delay, assuming it will release, is justified because the upgrade is free. The fact is if the upgrade was $10 USD, we would be exactly where we are today. So the money issue is not relevant. Paying for an upgrade would not have gotten Poweramp here any quicker. And using the "current version is good enough" as an excuse for the delay is wrong.
2. "Poweramp is the best audio engine on the market." The best audio engines on Android work around Android audio limitations. They are custom. Poweramp is not the only player with a custom engine. The competition is offering features beyond PA, e.g. network play, streaming, with equal or superior audio quality. If you think otherwise, you need to exit the PA bubble for a little while. Try USB Audio Player Pro (UAPP) or Neutron. (UAPP began as player to support external DACs. It supports internal DACs too.) UAPP doesn't have nice EQ presets out of the box, but you can recreate a PA one.
Don't get me wrong. PA has a great engine, but it's not the only great engine anymore.
3. "Poweramp's current interface is fine." It is unfortunate the players with the best engine do not have the best user interfaces. (Conversely, the players with the best interfaces do not have the best engines.) There are reasonable use cases the current PA interface can't satisfy. I really wish maxmp found a stellar UI programmer so he could focus on the engine. There is so much it needs feature wise to compete.
4. "maxmp is too busy to interact with customers." Max posted an image of his source code commits. I recognize his tool, SmartGit. SmartGit is one of the top version control tools out there. The developer, Dmitry, keeps SmartGit up to date with new Git features and adds his own. He's a busy guy. Yet he takes time to participate in his company's forum and is very responsive to email. There are many developers out there like Dmitry. No developer is so busy that he can't take the time to keep connected with his user base. Coding software is not a guy hacking out code from morning to night with no breaks. To justify the silence encourages it.
5. "Developing a new user interface takes a long time." It is an effort. It's a Herculian effort if an application is designed poorly internally, i.e. no separation of interests: user interface and engine. But several Android developers, including music player developers, have updated their application's user interface in far less time. GoneMad MP is under going one now, and you can track the progress on his blog site. Kudos to him!
Like everyone, I look forward to the next version. My fear is progress is slow not due to technical challenges, but a lack of drive, be it absence of passion for the product or a hunger to succeed. Not saying that is the case, but it is a possibility. (Did the original versions, when it was built from scratch, take this long?)
I've enjoyed PA. Switched to LG's Music app on V20 for a while. UAPP has become daily player.