It took the BBC six months to bring its iPlayer Radio app over from iOS to Android, but the results are even better than on the iPhone, at least according to the corporation’s executive producer for mobile. Stoking the never-ending Android/iOS fanboy arguments, the BBC’s James Simcock says the app – which brings streaming radio both live and on-demand, as well as behind-the-scenes videos – features improvements that “make it even better” than the first-gen software for iPhone released back in October.
Among the changes are a new navigation system, which relies on more straightforward gestures to navigate between stations, and better notifications thanks to integration with the Android drop-down menu. Android’s sharing system is taken advantage of too, with the iPlayer Radio app more readily swapping links to programs, artists, and tracks with other apps. The alarm clock also works even if the app isn’t running in the foreground.
The BBC team also jumped on board the HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) protocol to actually deliver content to Android devices, something that’s said to improve multitasking performance. Unfortunately, it also means you’ll need to be running Android 4.0 or above, and the BBC warns that, due to a firmware glitch that only certain carriers have addressed, some Samsung Galaxy S III owners might not find the app plays nicely with their handset. Broader availability of the fix is expected across UK carriers in the next month or so.
With the release of the Android version, it’s also the first time that iPlayer Radio has a layout specifically for tablets. So far, there’s no iPad counterpart, though of course iPad owners can still load the iOS version and use Apple’s screen-doubling to view it blown up for their display. The BBC says it will be looking at how it can bring the UI enhancements from the Android app to its iPhone counterpart in due course.