BBC Mobile Apps: a demo
Today at Mobile World Congress, Erik Huggers, Director of BBC Future Media & Technology, announced a series of BBC mobile apps.
Our aim is to develop core public service apps that bring some of the BBC's most popular and distinctive content to mobile in a genuinely user-friendly and accessible way.
Mobile apps offer us a great opportunity to extend the reach of BBC Online to people on the move. As more and more of us come to rely on the mobile internet for up to the minute information, the BBC needs to offer its existing web services in a more mobile friendly format to ensure we keep delivering value to the licence fee payer.
In designing these apps we haven't created any new content or developed any new services. It's just the same BBC Online content repurposed to provide a better experience on a mobile phone.
According to M:Metrics, the BBC mobile site is currently the second most popular UK destination on the mobile internet, attracting more than six million visitors a month. As mobile phones become more powerful and connectivity more accessible, mobile has become an increasingly important outlet for the BBC.
So, a little bit more about the apps themselves.
BBC NewsThe BBC News app is all about the latest BBC news and analysis at your fingertips. The app will have the same distinctive content as the BBC News website with full stories, features and analysis, in pictures, audio and video, plus correspondent blogs and live streaming of the BBC News Channel. We've also developed a neat way for you to personalise the news.
We've put together a demo of the News app to show you what it looks like and how it works. Please bear in mind that this is an early version and the final app will be tweaked and improved as we refine the design.
Click with your mouse, or use the right cursor arrow on your keyboard to move through the screens.
The main screen uses a carousel structure so you can quickly catch up on the news by sliding each row sideways to skim through the latest stories. You can also personalise the experience by reordering the rows to put your favourite news section at the top. So, if you like technology news, like I do, then you can easily move that section to the top.
You can read full stories by clicking on any thumbnail. Stories include embedded video along with options to share stories with your friends and send your pictures and video straight to the newsroom from your phone.
We have also developed a neat landscape view which lets you scan through the headlines when you turn your phone sideways. The idea is to provide a handy way to flick through the latest news without having to jump in and out of each story.
The BBC News app will be released in April and more features will be added throughout the year. You can find out how this will fit into the BBC News offering by reading Pete Clifton over in BBC News blog.
BBC SportThe BBC Sport app is all about the live match experience. One of the most popular sections of the BBC mobile site is football scores which generates millions of page impressions on a match Saturday. We want to build on this success by developing an app that puts the BBC's live football coverage in the palm of your hand.
The app will be released in time for the World Cup with Live, competitions, News, and Audio and Video sections. We will add further sports to the app, such as Formula 1, later in the year. Brett Spencer 5 live's interactive editor talks a bit more about the app and 5 live content on mobile on the 5live blog.
BBC iPlayerBBC iPlayer has been available on mobile for nearly 2 years and has proved very popular. We're looking at the possibilities around BBC iPlayer apps that would offer an enhanced experience with richer interactions and some new features.
Variants of each app would be developed to ensure they are properly optimised for different mobile platforms.
In other news:
- Mobile IQ are designing and developing the first variant of the BBC News and BBC Sports apps in the Apple SDK.
- For the BBC iPlayer apps we're looking at using Adobe Flash Player 10.1 streaming, and are trialling on the Google Nexus One and Motorola Milestone. Flash 10.1 streaming offers a high quality viewing experience and means we can start using the BBC's flash based embedded media player (EMP) on mobile phones.
It's an exciting time for the BBC's mobile team, and I'll blog more about this in the coming months.
David Madden is Executive Product Manager in the BBC Future Media and Technology Mobile team with responsibility for BBC iPlayer on mobile and mobile apps.