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iPlayer Android 2.2 app coming this week, doesn't add much

Swiftly following the good news that BBC iPlayer is coming to an iPad app this week, just one day later we're celebrating an Android version.

2 min read
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When the BBC announced an iPad application for iPlayer yesterday, we choked back a lump of rage -- another bit of Apple favouritism to make our blood boil. "Why?" we screamed at a disinterested wall, "WHY?!" The Beeb anticipated our hard-to-swallow rage -- or heard our yelling -- and says an Android app will be coming this week for accessing iPlayer.

It's not all plain sailing, though, because Android devices will have to be running version 2.2 of the operating system and will need Flash 10.1 installed. You can put a banana in our mouths and call us Mr Nana Chops if that doesn't just sound like a shonky Web app to you.

Additionally, you'll need to be on Wi-Fi to use the streaming functionality, although browsing TV shows will be possible on 3G. There's also no download option, so the convenience of being able to grab a show on your home Wi-Fi and then enjoy it on the train is missing.

There are also battery implications to using Flash for video -- there's a very good reason Steve Jobs isn't a fan, and it's why the iPad has access to the raw MP4 video stream. Flash is always the worst way to deliver video, so it's an annoying cop-out to see it used here, for whatever reason.

More features will inevitably follow in time, and we're certain the quality of the video on Android devices will be excellent, which wasn't always true of third-party solutions that accessed the 3G video stream. We are disappointed, however, that Auntie hasn't done more to make this a must-have application, rather than a watered-down version that's barely better than what's already available through the Android Web browser.

We must however give it credit for doing something on Android. We were beginning to get frustrated with the Apple-centric attitude at the BBC, so we're very happy to see more platforms embraced.

Have we been too negative about this app? What are your thoughts on the subject? Let us know below, or scrawl on our Facebook wall.