In a world where Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS mobile operating system rule, developers should have no issue developing apps for both platforms.
Well, at least this is how it should be. However, BBC is finding to difficult to produce many of its popular app for the Android platform which has the large marketshare to the dismay of many Android users.
Things have gotten so bad that the BBC felt the need to set the record straight about their shortcomings a blog post.
Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology correspondent reported that the question many Android users asked goes like this:
Why, when Android devices now have a much bigger share of the smartphone market than Apple, does the iPhone get BBC apps first? Why does the iPlayer run more smoothly on the iPhone and iPad, and when will Android users get the same ability to download as well as stream programmes?
Here is the response from Cellan-Jones received when he put the question to Daniel Danker, the BBC’s head of iPlayer and apps:
[quote] ”If you look at the amount of energy we spend on Apple, it pales in comparison to what we spend on Android. And that’s right – we agree with the audience.” But he then outlined the challenges involved:
RCJ: Why is there this gap between the BBC’s offering for Apple and Android – I’ve heard talk that it’s all about the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem?
DD: “It’s not just fragmentation of the operating system – it is the sheer variety of devices. Before Ice Cream Sandwich (an early variant of the Android operating system) most Android devices lacked the ability to play high quality video. If you used the same technology as we’ve always used for iPhone, you’d get stuttering or poor image quality. So we’re having to develop a variety of approaches for Android.”
[pullquote] And the number one device contacting us is still the Samsung Galaxy S2, which can’t handle advanced video.
And the number one device contacting us is still the Samsung Galaxy S2, which can’t handle advanced video.”
DD: “People write to us saying just that, why bother supporting older devices, why don’t you just start with – and then they insert whichever model of phone they have. But more than a quarter of our requests to iPlayer come from devices running Gingerbread. And the number one device contacting us is still the Samsung Galaxy S2, which can’t handle advanced video.”
RCJ: Why do you bother with Flash or Air, and what’s your strategy from now on?
DD: “Right now they provide the only means of playing video across the entire population of devices. We don’t love the one-size-fits-all approach but we can’t have an individual approach for each device, so we’re going to find a middle ground.
“We’re grouping devices by profile. We’ll do advanced video for medium-sized devices with three- to five-inch screens, advanced video for larger devices like the Kindle Fire in a different way, and lower quality video for devices like the Samsung Galaxy S2 that aren’t quite so capable of handling high-end video.”
RCJ: But YouTube and Netflix seem to have cracked this – why can’t you?
DD: “YouTube has lower expectations of quality, and they have no issues with content protection. Netflix has good quality but it builds the entire video player on phones – they have to reengineer for every device. That is costing a lot of money and as a public service broadcaster we don’t have the resources to do that. People also say everybody else is doing it, but that’s not true. Neither the ITV Player nor 4OD offers a full Android service.”[/quote]