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BBC to launch iPlayer on Android

The BBC has said that it intends to extend its online programme catch-up service, iPlayer, to Android mobile devices within the coming week.

The corporation says that it will deploy the service for Android users via the use of its in-house BBC Media Player facility – a secure technological application created by the corporation’s own Future Media division.

The BBC warns Android users, however, that the quality of the service may be compromised by its use of Adobe Air technology to power the app, rather than Adobe Flash. This, it says, is owing to Adobe’s ending of its support for the Android Flash Player earlier this year.

According to Chris Yanda, the iPlayer’s Executive Product Manager:

“No technology is perfect. We’ve seen some of the challenges that other Adobe Air based apps have had in the marketplace and so we have worked hard […] to build the best application we can.”

Some commentators have pointed to a reluctance up until now on the part of the BBC to deploy iPlayer for Android, owing to the difficulty in developing an application which meets the demands of its rights holders. This is an issue which, it is said, the Corporation does not have in regard to iOS (iPhone).

Once the new Android app does get off the ground however, it will have the potential to reach a great many more viewers – given figures showing that 57.2 per cent of all UK smartphone sales during the second quarter of 2012 were attributable to Android – compared with just 25.6 per cent for the iPhone.

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