BBC iPlayer plays Android catch-up

BBC iPlayerThe BBC is making significant progress in making iPlayer available on Android devices and now even has an Android development team that is almost three times the size of the iOS team.

Writing in a BBC blog, David Berlin, senior product manager and responsible for the BBC iPlayer mobile app on Android, added that “over the past months this team has excellent progress building the downloads feature, and with 100% of the team now entirely focused on downloads we’re looking forward to accelerating the delivery and launching asap.”

He added: “We appreciate the frustration the Android community has been experiencing in the time it is taking to deliver this desired feature, but I hope this provides a little more context around the complexities involved”.

Berlin also said that his team has been focused on three targets, namely achieving video playback quality parity with Apple iOS devices; supporting the full range of Android screen sizes, including tablet support; and delivering mobile video downloads to Android devices.

In the first one, it has gradually improved the video quality served over WiFi to all Android devices “and had focused on delivering comparable (to iPad/iPhone) quality media to the 75% of you on our most popular devices. On Tuesday we flicked a switch in MediaCityUK, Manchester, which enabled those higher quality streams on all of our most popular Android phones, tablets and ‘phablets’ can handle them.”

With higher quality playback achieved on most popular Android devices, it moved on to addressing support for a range of sizes.

Requests from tablets now make up around 20% of total iPlayer video requests each month.

As a result, an update was released a month ago to remove the website link and deliver the BBCiPlayer app to all Android phone, tablet and phablet device sizes.