VLC Beta for Android hits the Play Store

Looks like the VideoLAN team is busy: this morning they updated the OS X desktop client to support the Retina display on the MacBook Pro, and now a beta version of VLC has landed in the Play Store. The team stress that this is a very early version of the software with basic functionality, with lots of work still needed before it will work on the wide range of Android devices available.

Still, we managed to download it to our Galaxy Nexus running Jelly Bean without any problems. Hardware acceleration for videos isn't enabled by default, leading to stuttery video and decoding artifacts. Once you dive into the preferences and enable it, everything is nice and smooth, although it might not work on every device just yet. Another downside: video doesn't fully occupy the display just yet, with the dimmed on-screen buttons still present off to the side even in landscape.

The team notes that the current version only supports phones with ARMv7 CPUs and NEON hardware support. That covers a lot of devices, but will leave some entry-level phones out in the cold. The Play Store description also details how the UI will change in the future, performance will improve, and you might run into some trouble with audio.

It's nice to see VLC finally make the jump to Android, but there are a lot of video players already on the market with a wide range of hardware support, like BS Player, MX Player, and Dice Player. Make sure to hit up the Play Store to give VLC a whirl, but bear in mind the restrictions and maybe give some alternatives a look if you need perfect video playback on the go.

[Thanks, Armin!]