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iPlayer app not biased against Android, BBC Trust rules

The regulatory body did say it would 'monitor progress', and urged the BBC to add downloads to the Android app this year.

The BBC doesn't unfairly prioritise Apple's iOS platform when it comes to iPlayer updates, the Beeb's regulatory body has decreed.

In response to a complaint from 2011 that was escalated to the Trust last year, the watchdog has decided that the 'complexity and expense' of developing apps for Android means it's only fair that updates arrive later.

The finding, spied by The Telegraph and since confirmed by CNET, is bound to irritate Android fans who have been frustrated for some time by the sketchy iPlayer app, and the way that rival platforms are treated to new features -- like the power to download programmes for offline viewing.

The BBC has previously told CNET that fragmentation -- the issue that Android devices come in all shapes and sizes -- is the reason that new features arrive on iOS first.

It appears the Trust was convinced by Auntie's claims, saying, "[The Trust] agreed that developing for Android brought greater complexity and expense and that the case put forward by the [BBC] was persuasive."

"There were clear reasons why", the Trust continues, "At the time, iOS was prioritised and agreed this approach was entirely consistent with the [on-demand syndication] policy."

The Trust says it heard that although there are more Android devices out there, iOS represented "A demographic that was more likely, both in percentage terms and absolute numbers, to use BBC on-demand services".

The panel making the decision noted that, "While the BBC must do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure that viewers can access its on-demand content in a range of convenient and cost-effective ways, this did not necessarily mean that it would always be expected to launch new features on different platforms simultaneously."

Downloads for Android coming this year

There is some good news for Android fans -- the Trust says it will "monitor progress" on the issue, and urged the BBC to make good on its commitment to bring downloads to the Android app in 2013.

Do you agree with the Trust's verdict that the BBC isn't treating Android unfairly? Or do you think the Beeb needs to be doing a lot more for fans of Google's green robot? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.