The BBC is to deliver news and sports content through dedicated mobile applications suitable for iPhone, Blackberry and Android mobiles. In a speech at the Mobile World Congress, BBC director of Future Media & Technology Erik Huggers said that the first application, a BBC News app for the iPhone, would be made available in April 2010.
Although the BBC website has been available for mobile devices for the past eight years, the corporation is a relatively late entrant in producing mobile applications. Broadcasters that include Sky, Eurosport and France 24 have already occupied the territory. BBC World News has its own app, produced by Livestation for viewers outside the UK.
The popularity of the iPlayer via its mobile version has also led to the consideration of a dedicated iPhone app. All the applications released by the BBC will be made available free-of-charge.
Huggers said that with smart phone usage expected to increase during 2010, now was the right time for the BBC to the application. “It’s been 12 years since the launch of BBC Online, but as media converges and technology accelerates, licence fee payers are increasingly using sophisticated handheld devices to access information. They tell us that they want to access the digital services that they have paid for at a time and place that suits them”.
The BBC News app will bring access to breaking news and the latest stories, repurposing content available on the BBC News website. It will initially be available for the iPhone and iPod Touch with BBC News applications for RIM (Blackberry) and Google (Android) operating systems available later in the year.
A BBC Sport application will be released in time for the World Cup, allowing fans to watch live match coverage. BBC Radio 5 Live will also be available through the application as will live text commentaries and presenter blogs.