‘Answers About Android’

A very interesting interview with Daniel Danker, “the BBC’s head of iPlayer, apps and all that stuff,” questioning why their Android client lags behind the iOS client:

It will never be as easy to develop for Android as Apple because of the variety of devices, but we’re not upset about that – it’s where the audience is. Apple may punch above its weight in users accessing video and so on, but much of the Android audience are just the kind of people we want to reach, people who’ve never used their phones before in this way.

The last phrase is fascinating: “people who’ve never used their phones before in this way.”

You can read this two ways: new smartphone users are coming to Android first, and thus they aren’t used to using their phones to stream video; OR Android users simply aren’t used to streaming video. I think the broad evidence supports the latter, which is also my interpretation, given how much more data the smaller iOS user base uses than the Android user base.

There’s a ton of other fascinating problems the BBC has run into:

  • The BBC spends more time and energy on Android, yet the iOS app is leaps and bounds better right now.
  • The top request is from people using a Samsung Galaxy S2 — which Danker notes can’t handle “advanced video”.
  • This is a great comparison between iOS and Android development: “Background audio, for example. When you leave the app you want the Today programme to keep on running. That worked out of the box on Apple, but not on Android, and we’re just getting there now.”

Reading through this interview it doesn’t read like a slam on Android, but a post highlighting some of the very real issues that Apple bloggers have been noting about Android for a while now, mainly: fragmentation, and the vast array of devices make it hard to develop for every Android device.

Originally posted for members on: December 17, 2012
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