BBC on Why Android Sucks and iOS is Awesome

Posted on December 17, 2012 by

12.09.03-BBC

BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones has an interesting article on why the iPhone always gets BBC apps before Android. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is why many other companies also release their apps for iOS first, even though Android now has a much larger share of the smartphone market.

Below are some highlights, but head on over to BBC News for the entire article.

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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? These and other questions fill my inbox and my Twitterstream.

But as I said, this is not my job, so I asked Daniel Danker, the BBC’s head of iPlayer, apps and all that stuff, to explain. He started by outlining what looked like very ambitious plans to boost the BBC’s Android capability, with a bigger team than that working on Apple devices.

“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.”

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RCJ: Let’s take a couple of examples of features which are available for Apple users – the iPlayer radio app and video downloads. Why are Android users waiting?

DD: “Believe it or not, we started work on the iPlayer radio app for Android on the same day as the one for the iPhone, but we’re still resolving a number of issues. Background audio, for example. When you leave the app you want the Today programme to keep on running. That worked out of the box on Apple, but not on Android, and we’re just getting there now.

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