BBC iPlayer Radio app hits Android, improved over the iOS version

The BBC has released the Android version of its iPlayer Radio application, which even adds some improvements over the iOS version released last year.

It is available on the Google Play store now for tablets and smartphones, and will soon hit the Amazon Appstore for the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.

As with the version released for iPhone, the BBC iPlayer Radio app gives control over Aunty Beeb's radio stations, offering live broadcast and shows on demand. There are plenty of features to improve the experience above and beyond a conventional radio application or hardware, including a touchscreen dial to make finding stations easier, a full programme guide and the ability to catch up with radio output from up to seven days earlier.

The Android version adds several key changes over the iOS one for several reasons, the key one being that screen sizes of Android phones are often bigger, with a wider/longer aspect ratio, giving the broadcaster more real estate for additional features. "We’ve followed a slightly different design pattern for the Android version of the app which not only leans heavily into the navigational paradigms of the platform (making it familiar to most Android users) but also makes it quicker than ever to discover more content offered by most of our radio stations," says the BBC.

"On iOS, some content is tucked beneath the ‘currently playing content’ area on the screen, revealed by swiping upwards to show a ‘carousel’. However, on Android simply swiping horizontally will take you through all the content from the currently selected station."

Other changes that have been implemented on this platform include the use of the notifications panel, the alarm clock function can be used even when the app is not open, and social sharing is easier thanks to Android's ability to make programme URLs or artist and track names available to any application.

Of course, in terms of aspect ration, the iPhone 5 has changed things somewhat for Apple, so the BBC will be looking to see if it can enforce some changes to the iOS version too, somewhere down the line.

The Android app is claimed to work on all devices carrying Android 4.0 and above. However, some Samsung Galaxy S3 owners may find audio playback does not work for them, because of a specific firmware update they may have installed. Phones bought SIM-free should be fine, but some acquired through networks might be affected. Samsung is working on a fix, but it may take a while to get the patch rolled out to all carriers.

READ: BBC iPlayer Radio app pictures and hands-on (iPhone)