BBC separates Android video apps

The BBC has launched a new video platform that is designed to work across mobile devices running the Android operating system.

The change, which will initially be seen on the web-based version of the BBC iPlayer, comes in the light of last November’s decision by Adobe to end support for its Flash platform.

In a blog post Chris Yanda, executive product manager, POD mobile management, BBC Future Media explained that one of the difficulties is the number of variations in the Android platform. The vast majority of Android users are on the Gingerbread or FroYo platforms, however the BBC also needed to support the newer Jellybean.

The situation is complicated by the various content security agreements between the BBC and the rights holders.

Yanda says a number of different solutions were explored, including HLS (Http live streaming), which is used by the BBC on other platforms. However, HLS is not supported on Android OS versions prior to Honeycomb.

The result has been a dedicated app that the BBC will use across its Android developments. However, the implication and a problem facing commercial and public broadcasters alike is that the combination of Adobe’s Flash decision and rapid developments elsewhere have placed an additional cost on development.