BBC Olympic App on Android and iPhone

Friday 13 July 2012, 09:30

Lucie Mclean Lucie Mclean Executive Product Manager

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Launch image, home page, and menu

BBC Olympics app on Android

Last month I wrote on this blog about the new mobile video services we've developed to help you enjoy the summer of sport - including live and catch-up video on your mobile and tablet.

My team, the mobile sport and 2012 team, has been using your feedback on our Euro 2012, F1 and Wimbledon coverage to continue improving the service, working on the video quality and reliability of playback.

And as we build up to the Olympic Games, I'm excited to be able to announce the release of our next new BBC Sport mobile product - the BBC Olympics smartphone app.

It's available on Android and iPhone, and we are introducing a shortcut for Blackberry devices too.

BBC Future Media's Mobile Platforms team, based alongside us at Mediacity UK in Salford, built the app.

Great Olympic content

The BBC Olympics app is built on the same content as the Olympic mobile website, including:

  • a page for each of the 36 Olympic sports - the perfect place to find out more about the rules or what's happening when
  • every athlete and country has their own page with medal tallies, news stories and key facts
  • minute-by-minute live text commentary to give you that crucial overview of 36 sports during the live action
  • comprehensive schedule and results service to help you stay in touch with all the results as they happen
  • most importantly, thousands of hours of live video during the Games plus highlights of the best medal-winning moments

Native app features

We've taken advantage of the extra functionality available in native apps to include some additional features.

In both the iOS and Android versions you can download the latest stories to read offline - perfect for when you're on the go and in an area where there's poor mobile reception.

If you want to manage your data allowance, this can be switched off (say, on 3G), or set to take headlines without images.

The iOS app is designed for iPhones and iPod touch devices on iOS 5.0 and above. Users can personalise the iOS app, by adding their favourite Olympics sports to the customisable tab bar.

The Android app is for handsets with OS 2.2 and above. Android users need to have Flash installed to be able to watch the video.

You can see a demonstration of the app's main features in the video. Some of its content (such as medals, live video and results) won't be available until the Games start but there's plenty of news and information available now.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Please do download the new BBC Olympics app and let me know what you think.

We're working on the BBC Sport app already, and we would love to hear your Olympic feedback as we prepare the BBC Sport product.

Lucie McLean is Senior Product Manager, Mobile Sport & 2012, BBC Future Media

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  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Looks very nice on my iphone 3gs, which for the olympics is probably what I will use, as most of us I expect will be working while its on.
    I did not see the airplane icon in my app though for downloading offline content, but I always have a good 3g/wifi available signal so I dont see the need for that. But, it defeats me if you are offline, how in your video you say it updates the headlines, surely it only has what you previously downloaded when you were offline.
    The drag idea is really nifty and works very well, 10/10 for that.
    It was a shame that I had to find a pc to view the 'lucie demonstration of the app' video on how it worked, as it did not show up on this blog on my iphone or ipad. Might be a good idea to include that up until the olympics start on the first page of the app, as it was a good introduction.
    It looks pretty bad as a x2 app on the ipad and the drag icon fails.
    I know you can use the bbc sports pages on the ipad, but I agree that the olympics pages on there are pretty daunting with so much content to trundle through, hard to navigate with no customization.
    Thanks for making a bit of the olympics coverage for me customizable

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    This sounds really great, but I only have an ipad. Will you be releasing an ipad version as the x2 app isn't very good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    No one mentioning Blackberrys! No chance for me to watch BBC video!

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    So I can watch it on my Android phone with its piddly little screen but not on my Android tablet. Pointless

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Why is it incompatible with my Galaxy Note on gingerbread (2.3.6) here in the UK on Vodafone?!?!?! GRRRRR!!!

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    A good explanation of why you should remove pull‐to‐refresh in the Android app,

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    When developing something - a website, an app, a product - it's a good (and pretty basic) idea to try asking the users what they want and need, not to just press ahead with what you *think* they want and need. The two are seldom the same.

    It's pretty clear from the comments that your users want a) versions on all major platforms, including common Android phones, b) tablet versions including (indeed, especially) the iPad, and c) the ability to watch full-screen video on the BBC sport website.

    Can I ask what user research you conducted before developing this app and/or the BBC Sport website, and what led you to think that the functionality above wasn't required?

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Surely the way to make video work on non-flash devices is to switch to the same streams that are used for the iphone....

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Doesn't work on my Galaxy tab 10.1 with Android 3.1. Why not?

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Really disappointing to see no Jelly Bean Support from any of the BBC apps really... Just because android had Flash Support I think it is disgraceful that the BBC ever required it and now look at the situation we are in, flash support has gone and so everyone updating will be left with no iPlayer or other apps like this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    @lettice Yes there'll be live text commentaries by BBC Sport journalists, just as you've described, covering each day's Olympic sport. In the app you'll be able to access these from the home screen (they'll be very prominent in the top stories area) or the Live button.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    On Samsung Galaxy Nexus upgraded to Jelly Bean the BBC Olympic app seems to continue working -although there's not much activity yet to test it.
    But BBC iPlayer -surely a key BBC service - is incompatible with Jelly Bean and the app by all accounts has been very glitchy on all Android for months.
    I'm surprised the BBC can't put together a decent app that doesn't require Flash -maybe they should outsource to a private company...well, maybe not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    I cannot seem to find the blackberry shortcut you mentioned.. has this been rolled out? Any chance of including an RSS stream of related blog posts.. came across a [off-topic URL removed by Moderator].. would be great to have link to content like that as part of the app!

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    @55 Toby77

    As fas as I understand it, the BBC's use of Flash for content delivery is required by the rights holders of the various programs because of the security it affords.

    The fact that the programs in question have already been broadcast in the clear (unencrypted and unprotected) and in far higher quality than the mobile iPlayer streams seems to have escaped them.

    As does the fact that giving users a poor experience (which the Flash iPlayer does), or disenfranchising them entirely because they have devices that cannot run Flash, makes it MORE likely for them to turn to the "pirates"

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Just got the app which looks brilliant. Is there going to be an iPad version?

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    When trying to install from the Google Play store on my Samsung Galaxy S3, I get "Error, insufficient storage available. When i look at Settings/Storage, I have 6.08Gb available of the internal storage, and 12.78Gb of SD card storage available. My S3 is not rooted, or modded in any way. It has the latest Samsung ROM on it (I9300XXLFB); Android 4.0.4, Kernel 3.0.15-782020-user; build IMM76D.I9300XXBLFB.

    Can someone tell me why I can't install it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    My last post was censored for apparently breaking the house rules, I will try in this instance to not break a rule that I don't know I'm breaking.

    I'm disappointed (to put it mildly) that the BBC hasn't ported the android app over to the blackberry playbook. I have used it on the playbook and it seems to work just fine.

    The process for converting android apps in to playbook apps is very simple and it smacks of a developer that cant be bothered or has some other sort of agenda.


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