About the BBC - BlogAbout the BBC - Blog
Local Navigation
« Previous | Main | Next »

BBC Mobile Apps go live

Post categories:

Erik Huggers Erik Huggers | 11:31 UK time, Friday, 23 July 2010

Today's announcement that the BBC Trust have concluded their review of our plans to produce native applications for smartphones, means that we are continuing with the launch of apps that we outlined in February.

We know that increasing numbers of you want to access BBC output on-the-go and the rapid growth of internet-connected mobiles and smartphones in the market means we can cost-effectively provide our content and services on these devices, and this is a really important way for us to deliver online services in the future. Today we begin with our News App becoming available for the Apple iPhone, and soon it will come to Blackberry and Android phones in addition to other devices later in the year.

The first class journalism that you expect from the BBC is now available to you in a way that is simple, personalised and optimised for mobile devices. My colleague David Madden has written a blog post and created a video tutorial which will take you through the features of the News app. Please let us know what you think of it.


Erik Huggers is Director of BBC Future Media & Technology


  • Comment number 1.

    Will the iPlayer app be coming out as well?

    Great news, thanks!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Just out of interest, what happened to the page with the BBC's stated policy on mobile platform support?

    It seems to have gone missing...

  • Comment number 3.

    I really cant wait for the Android app. Please make it for 1.6 and not 2.1 or 2.2. My phone is brand new (SE X10) and still has only 1.6. The carriers seem to take ages in updating.

    Android is now out selling iPhone, so please get the Android version out ASAP, and I will be the BBC's best friend again despite the horrible update to its news site.

  • Comment number 4.

    It is good to see that BBC Trust has made the correct decision to release the BBC news app here in the UK. It made little sense that the software was made available to non-licence payers in the USA, even if the BBC relied upon adverts within the app, as a means of justifying costs and its distribution overseas.

    The adverts will remain in the app for UK TV licence payers and besides there are now many UK residents who will be used to reading their UK & local news via a variety of other apps AND probably without any 'annoying' adverts.

    One wonders if the fear of people over subscribing to this app will not be founded after all.

    Why did they not make the app available from day one and put in place, a charge or subscription for the app (reduced for those who held a valid TV licence - similar to the SKY TV app) rather than have us all subjected to advertisments or indeed the long wait for this app to become available.

    Those aligned to the USA iTunes store had BBC News, Netflix and the ABC Player - all of which were unavailable to the UK and all of which were top-rated apps. Lets hope that the BBC Trust's decision is the first of many such decisions that put us all on an equal footing.

    I guess that paves the way to remove the licence fee and the introduction of adverts to the TV. Oh no...!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    So, what's the schedule for:
    - News + Sport Apps on Android
    - iPlayer app for Android which doesn't rely on flash?

    "Later in the year" doesn't cut it as a schedule. Yet again the BBC spends money on Apple devices only at the expense of license fee payers.

  • Comment number 6.

    Just want to add my voice to the crowd asking when the Android Apps are scheduled for release? Can't believe any developer would work on "later this year", and the mobile industry is famed for slippages.

    I note that the iPad version of the app is already being released even though the hardware was only released the other month. Were the developers told to drop what they were doing on Android and develop for BBC favs Apple?

    It certianly feels as if the BBC favour developing more products for the iPhone because it's the device all their media friends in London have. Apple products are great, but they are a minority device and aren't affordable to many.

    If the iOS apps are being released now, the Android apps need to be released pretty much immediately too.

    And what chance is there of the BBC putting out a home screen news article on them releasing for Android? I'd say pretty much none.

  • Comment number 7.

    When is the Android version due?

    Would be good if you used a "standard" format for your video too so that it can play on phones that aren't supported by Adobe (like Android 2.1). Yes, 2.2 will support it, but that's only available for what is now a "development phone" at the moment

  • Comment number 8.

    So the bbc brings out apps for the iphone first, despite android, blackberry, and nokia outsell the iphone in the uk. Why? Also will the android, blackberry and nokia apps be advertised with a front page advert? Or are the bbc biased again? No wonder the coalition is accusing the bbc of being commercially controlling if they favor one phone operating systems over others!

  • Comment number 9.

    +1 for the higher selling smart phone OS versions first.

    What a great surprise it was the meedja lovies application first, despite it's lower than others user base.

  • Comment number 10.

    Is there an iPhone emulator for the PC?

    If so, could it be used with the app to avoid the "Penny Dreadful" BBC News website?

  • Comment number 11.

    Thanks for your comments and questions. Over on the BBC Internet blog, David Madden, executive product manager for BBC Mobile is talking through the BBC News mobile apps and there is a video demo of the BBC News iPad app which gives an overview of how the app works and the features that have been developed.

    I hope that answers some of your questions.


  • Comment number 12.

    P.S David Madden also says in the video that they will be developing apps for Android and Blackberry later in the year. So watch this space...


  • Comment number 13.

    And again, what of Symbian? Is that "other"?
    You'd have thought that the BBC would manage to mention that first. It only is the dominant Smartphone OS in the UK.

    You'd think that, but this is the Apple/Twitter/Facebook loving BBC we're referring to.

  • Comment number 14.


    we've been collating the comments and questions from the BBC blogs, YouTube and Twitter and feeding them back to Erik Huggers and David Madden. I've gathered a few of David's responses which may be of interest below...

    - The BBC News Channel is not currently available outside the UK. The BBC News iPhone and iPad apps are available in Apple App Stores outside the UK and includes Live World Service radio.

    - We plan to offer apps to other platforms later in the year.

    - BBC News is available as both an iPhone and iPad app in the Apple App Store. The BBC News app is currently available in the UK Apple App Store. Search for BBC News to find the app.


  • Comment number 15.

    No comment about "Other" yet?

  • Comment number 16.

    Sorry for the delay getting back to you Tengsted.

    David Madden, Executive Product Manager for BBC Mobile has the following response for you:

    "BBC iPlayer has been available on some Symbian devices and in the Nokia OVI store since last year. The BBC will continue to offer it's service on Symbian devices."


  • Comment number 17.

    Are apple paying the BBC so that those who want the apps first will hopefully rush out and buy an iphone? it seems to me like it is the case when apple products that are on the market less than a month or so get the apps while other products have to wait

  • Comment number 18.

    Hello wildthing666,

    I have spoken to David Madden who is the Executive Product Manager for BBC Mobile and here is his response to your question:

    "No, the BBC does not get paid by any third parties to prioritise BBC services on their devices. We evaluate a number of factors when deciding which devices get which services. First, we look at the reach potential of a device to understand how many licence fee payers we can make a service available to through that phone. We also evaluate the resource and maintenance costs of enabling a high quality experience on that device. In addition we assess whether we can use existing infrastructure and technology with minimum effort. This is driven by the BBC's overall objective of maximizing reach on mobile platforms while delivering a high quality BBC service in a cost-effective way.

    We have limited resources and therefore have to carefully prioritise development work to maximise reach and value. So, if we have 15 units of work to do on mobile iPlayer (support, maintenance, new features, new handsets etc) but only 5 units of effort available, we really have to focus on the high volume phones to get the service out to as many people as possible. I hope that gives an overview of what the BBC is trying to achieve with our mobile services and outlines the approach we have adopted."

    Best wishes,

  • Comment number 19.

    BBC iPlayer has been available on some Symbian devices and in the Nokia OVI store since last year. The BBC will continue to offer it's service on Symbian devices

    As iPlayer was available on other devices (i.e. iPhone) at that time, it's not really anything to shout about.

    What it also says is there will be no further Symbian apps. Is that correct?

  • Comment number 20.

    Given that Symbian on Nokia and other phones is the largest installed mobile operating system, surely this should be the first to be developed for given that the BBC is "to maximise reach and value". Symbian may have been hard to develop for a year or so ago, but with the introduction of Qt, is now much easier, so there really is no excuse now!

  • Comment number 21.

    Whilst on topic of mobile apps, where is the BBC Weather app for Symbian with homescreen widget? The majority of the UK population rely on the BBC weather forecast daily. Please hurry up and bring this out, or at least provide other developers with the tools to access the content to bring this through to fruition.


About this blog

Senior staff and experts from across the organisation use this blog to talk about what's happening inside the BBC. We also highlight and link to some of the debates happening on other blogs and online spaces inside and outside the corporation.

Here are some tips for taking part.

This blog is edited by Jon Jacob.

Subscribe to this blog

You can stay up to date with About the BBC via these feeds.

If you aren't sure what RSS is you'll find our beginner's guide to RSS useful.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Follow this blog

Other BBC blogs

More from this blog...


These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.