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BBC News app comes to Android devices

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Anthony Sullivan | 11:59 UK time, Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A lot of people have been asking when the BBC News app will be made available on Android devices, which is understandable given the platform's growing popularity.

So, I'm delighted to announce that from today the BBC News app will be available to download from Android Market in the UK. BBC Worldwide will soon be launching an international version of the app for audiences around the world.

At Mobile World Congress this year, BBC Director of Future Media Ralph Rivera reiterated our ongoing commitment to repurpose core, distinctive BBC Online services for a range of mobile devices. The BBC News app was launched on iPhone and iPad in the UK last July and has proved hugely popular, with nearly 3 million UK downloads and a further 3 million internationally to date. Its arrival within Android Market brings immediate access to breaking news and broadcast content to a wider 'on-the-move' audience.

BBC News on an Android phone

Nowhere is immediacy and accessibility of content more important than with news. We witnessed a 78% increase in users of our mobile browser service on the day news broke of the death of Osama Bin Laden.

An increasing proportion of our audiences now access BBC News via mobile devices. This trend isn't new - licence-fee payers have been able to access BBC News on mobile phones through their browsers for around nine years - but it's increasing. We have responded by delivering BBC News Online to devices via apps to ensure a simple, intuitive user experience, with opportunities for personalisation.

The app achieved around 57,000 downloads in the week commencing 2 May driven by the Osama Bin Laden story - a clear testimony to audiences' appetite for a higher quality, on-the-move experience. And, the app is a trusted bookmark during moments of national and international significance, attracting a record 540,000 UK users around the Bin Laden story, and 376,000 UK users on the day of the Royal Wedding.

The BBC News app on Android delivers UK and international news, business, politics, health, education, science and environment, technology and entertainment stories, as well as correspondent features and analysis to your device. The BBC News app on Android is available free of charge.

Key features of the BBC News app on Android are:

• Simple design with scroll functionality to enable efficient browsing;
• Tap action to reveal full-screen article and in-story video;
• Sideways 'swipe' functionality to move between stories;
• Sharing tools to post stories to a range of social networks, email or send via SMS to a friend;
• Rapid news stories refresh and latest and breaking news 'ticker';
• Neat personalisation features, allowing you to personalise the home screen by adding and removing categories;
• Font controls to increase or decrease the story text size.

The BBC News Android app is available on all Android phones and tablets running software versions 1.6 and above, but we're not yet supporting Honeycomb tablets (Android software version 3.0). The app's video experience is accessible to both Flash and non-Flash enabled devices, over wi-fi and 3G connections. In-story video is supported on Android devices versions 1.6 and above, and live streaming of the BBC News channel is possible on versions 2.2 and above which run Flash.

As the range of devices in the market widens, we plan to offer an optimised BBC News experience to the widest mobile audience possible. With this in mind, we'll be working with manufacturers to look at ways of reversioning the service in the most efficient way. We'll also be working hard on improving the experience across our mobile services.

In the meantime, I'd like to hear your feedback on the BBC News app on Android. We've started to use the #bbcapps hash tag on Twitter this morning so join the conversation there, or post a comment below this blog post now.

Anthony Sullivan is Executive Product Manager for News, BBC Future Media


  • Comment number 1.

    Fantastic! A very smooth experience so far.

    But why can't be installed on SD? This might sound like a minor quibble, but for those of us with limited internal storage it's an essential feature that can mean the life or death of an app.

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes, yes, but what about my 11 year old Nokia 6210?! I pay my licence fee blah blah blah! ;)

  • Comment number 3.

    Very nice to have an official app for Android... There doesn't seem to be a widget for the homescreen, however.

  • Comment number 4.

    I like the "LIVE" button, but you can't really read the onscreen text from the News Channel.

    Another issue: when I flip my phone to landscape (Droid, with the keyboard) the BBC News app doesn't rotate.

  • Comment number 5.

    I can only hope it isn't as slow, sluggish and buggy as the BBC News app on iOS. I've switched back to the mobile site as its faster.

  • Comment number 6.

    Once again I notice with annoyance that Android Apps released by the BBC are the shoddy second best cousins of their iPhone versions. Please explain to me, without PR speak, why Android Apps require Flash to stream video when you already have non flash streams available for the iPhone?

  • Comment number 7.

    "The app's video experience is accessible to both Flash and non-Flash enabled devices"

    I found a story with video, but it refused to play, saying I didn't have the correct version of Flash.

    I'm running Android 2.3.

  • Comment number 8.

    Great to see the BBC News app on the Android Market which is well overdue as the unofficial BBC News app (which is basically just an RSS reader) on Android has almost 5,000,000 downloads. Surprised the feedback from the BBC iPlayer Android app wasn't taken on board though (app to SD saving and non-flash video).

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    @8 BristolBoy

    ***"Surprised the feedback from the BBC iPlayer Android app wasn't taken on board though"***

    Indeed. I see HTC have just released a new handset, the Wildfire S running Android 2.3.

    Unfortunately it has an ARMv6 based processor (a Qualcomm MSM 7227), meaning it won't run flash, and, therefore, won't run iPlayer or the Flash videos in this app.

    This is turning into a "haves and have-nots" scenario. Those that can afford the latest high end Android devices get iPlayer and can play the videos in this app, while those who can only afford the cheaper (albeit, new) handsets, cannot.

    Come on BBC. Sort this out. Catering to those that can afford £500 handsets while ignoring those who can only afford cheaper kit like the Wildfire S at half that price.

  • Comment number 11.

    "The app's video experience is accessible to both Flash and non-Flash enabled devices, over wi-fi and 3G connections."

    So isn't it only the live stream that's not accessible? Obv whilst still annoying I am reading many of the comments here as video not being available at all sans flash.

  • Comment number 12.

    Love the app. Makes me feel that my Desire HD is now a tablet. Much nicer than loads of other news apps I have installed. Am I right to think that it cleverly avoid showing the same story in two categories, depending on what categories you are choosing?

    BBC has brought a new standard to apps with iPlayer and this app. THANK YOU!

  • Comment number 13.

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

  • Comment number 14.

    Are there any plans for an app for the windows phone 7 platform?

  • Comment number 15.

    Just installed onto my HTC Desire HD and it's working a treat. Even better on an extra large 4.3" screen. :)

    Two weeks ago, I still had an iPhone 3G and the App could barely run on it, so.....painfully........slow!

  • Comment number 16.

    I've tried this app on my phone, an HTC Legend, and the video works perfectly. So how about doing the same for the iPlayer app for Android, which will not show any video on my phone because my phone does not support full Flash. If it works for the news app, why not for iPlayer? If you do, a download facility for iPlayer would also be good!

  • Comment number 17.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 18.

    Why do I (a USA resident) have to wait for the "international" version?

  • Comment number 19.

    Bit of a let down for Android tablet users like myself who prefer to view pages in 'Landscape' mode so can you make the screen auto-rotate for us and make best use of the extra space ASAP please?

  • Comment number 20.

    Thanks, also you need to make 3g compatible versions of bbc iplayer shows so we can watch using our mobile networks on the go.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think the BBC app for Android will have an even bigger impact when the new Sony Tablet PC will be launched, since, in my opinion, it will have at least the same popularity as the PS3. It will be a serious contender for the iPad.

    Read more about the new S1 Android tablet from Sony here:

  • Comment number 22.

    Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions. SD card support and a homescreen widget were both requested as enhancements. We're working on these right now and expect to provide them in an update very soon.

    I'm also happy to report that we launched the international version of the BBC News app last week. For those of outside the UK, this is now available in the international Android Market.

    There have been a number of comments about video support. The BBC News app offers in-story video clips to all Android users running 1.6 and above. We are supporting both Flash and non-Flash enabled devices, over wi-fi and 3G connections.

  • Comment number 23.

    Would be great if the new app was also available for Honeycomb tablets.... is that in the plan?

  • Comment number 24.

    Is there a reason why the section for the Test Match never contains anything other than:

    "News updates from the third day's play at Trent bridge" (obviously substituting the day and ground as appropriate)?

    All the other Sport sections contain the reports that I would expect to see so I don't know why cricket doesn't work.

  • Comment number 25.

    Although it is possible to turn a phone with a Landscape screen like the HTC ChaCha through 90 degrees, it would be much nicer to have the option of the news displaying across the screen in its normal orientation. Other Apps seem to handle that, why not the BBC's?

  • Comment number 26.

    Ditto to Andy's comment (#24) about the cricket live text. Please can you look into this?

    OK, so I can get my TMS fix it via the standard BBC Mobile site but it's not as convenient.


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