The BBC has posted an extensive update on its future plans for the BBC iPlayer Android app. In the coming months, the corporation says it's main aims are to reach feature parity with the iOS app, and introduce new, high-quality streams and better support for large-screen devices.
In a blog post, BBC iPlayer boss Dave Price says the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 are now in the top five devices used to access iPlayer content. And in order to give 7-inch users the best experience, Price says a "significant engineering team" will be put behind improving iPlayer playback on Android devices.
Firstly, the BBC will improve video quality for higher-end devices on fast networks. This will start with new, higher-quality streams for Wifi users before Christmas, followed at a later date by additional high-quality streams for playback over 4G mobile networks.
In order to close the gap in functionality between iPlayer on Android and iOS, features like mobile downloads and iPlayer Radio (including background playback) will be brought to Android in the near future. A future version will introduce a new UI, upon which this new functionality will be built in the months ahead.
What's more, Price says a pre-Christmas iPlayer update will enable Android 4.2 support. (Current support tops out at version 4.1.2, though it is possible to install the app on a 4.1 device, then upgrade to 4.2 and use it without issue.) The same update will bring a "richer tablet experience" on devices like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire, while future updates will prioritize optimizations for "the most popular devices."
The current iPlayer app has offered a decent but basic experience on Android, so we're pleased to see the Beeb taking a greater interest in optimizing for up-and-coming devices. And of course video quality improvements are always welcome. We'll look forward to trying out the new iPlayer update in the next couple of weeks. If you're after more technical details, the full blog post over at the source link is definitely worth a read.
Source: BBC Blog