Sky Go Android tablet app promised, only works in portrait

Sky is building a special Sky Go app for Android tablets with 10-inch screens... except it has one widescreen flaw.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Sky is building a special Sky Go app for Android tablets with 10-inch screens... except it has one glaringly widescreen flaw. It only works in portrait mode, according to Alun Webber, Sky's managing director of product design and development. Update: Sky has clarified that the menus only work in portrait orientation. Actual viewing of programmes and films does work in landscape mode, so that's much better. 

Sky's temporarily building a separate app just for tablets that run Android 4.0 and above, as part of an effort to better serve Android slates. That app will use a different streaming technology than the regular app and will support the higher-resolution streams needed for larger screens.

The tablet-specific app will be available in beta form for Samsung, Asus, Google Nexus and Sony slates by the end of September.

Then, in January, the tablet app and the regular app will become one and the tablet app withdrawn. In the final phase, that app will be made to automatically adjust to the size of each screen, and work in landscape mode. 

You read that right -- landscape is coming later. At first, the menus will only work when you hold the tablet upright in portrait mode. 

"Given the amount and complexity of the work involved, we are delivering this in a phased approach," says Sky's Webber. "This approach will prioritise providing a good quality content-viewing experience ahead of UI changes such as making better use of the screen and enabling landscape mode."

So although Sky has finally committed to building an app for widescreen tablets, you can't get the benefit of having a large screen. C'mon Sky... you had one job

Sky has already admitted it's "fallen short" on Sky Go for Android tablets. Sky says Android 10-inchers won't play the Sky Go app because the app is too old and needs to be rewritten to accommodate bigger screen sizes and the higher-resolution video streams they entail -- leaving the iPad as the only 10-inch tablet that plays Sky Go.

If you want Sky Movies on pretty much any tablet, computer or games console, Sky is currently offering six months for the price of one with online dish-free streaming service Now TV. That's £2.50 per month for the latest releases -- and all the Bond films -- which is a solid gold bargain in my book.

Are you happy that Sky is finally making an app for your tablet, or befuddled by the fact it won't work in widescreen? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our widescreen Facebook page.