Sky Go MD says Android app has fallen short of expectations

Sky has admitted it needs to do better to service the needs of its customers who use the Sky Go app and service on Android.

In an open letter to the Sky User forums, Alun Webber, MD for product design and development at Sky. admits: "Sky Go on Android has fallen short of the expectations of some of our customers."

Blaming a constantly changing Android operating system and a decision by Sky to develop for Android 2.2 Gingerbread when the app was first created, the company confirms that it is now looking to develop in such a way that it can benefit from the latest versions of Android (ICS and Jelly Bean) without getting caught out again in the future.  

"Sky Go was launched on Android in February 2012, but was developed on older versions of Android (2.2 & 2.3) that did not support tablets. Our priorities immediately after launch were to amend the service such that it worked with the ICS release (achieved April 2012), and to launch VOD (June 2012), bringing it in line with the iOS application," says Webber.

"In late summer 2012, we faced the choice of rewriting the application to either take advantage of the capabilities of ICS (and Jelly Bean) to enable applications to scale for different screen sizes, or focus on delivering 'downloads' to Android at the same time as for iOS."

The Sky Go team has been slowly adding support for the latest handsets, but there are still many notable omissions including tablets.

According to Webber the lack of streaming support and not being able to easily adapt the application to different screen sizes have caused the most issues.

"One issue [we face] relates to the way the Android application code was written, which meant it was not able to easily adapt it for different screen sizes in the way enabled by the ICS and Jelly Bean releases.

"The other issue relates to the provision of a stream of sufficiently high bandwidth to support viewing on a tablet device – this was a criticism of our launch on the Nexus 7, particularly for the viewing of Sports content. This below-par viewing experience would only be exacerbated on a 10-inch device."

Webber believes he has an interim solution for the multiple screen sizes issue and is seeking to make this available to the testing teams within the next 4-5 weeks. He doesn't say when we could see a release to the public, however.

The director is also hoping to improve things in the future to ensure that Android users are treated as well as iPhone and iPad users.

The end goal, it seems, is to ensure Sky is well prepared for the next major Android OS release, so customers don't suffer from the same delays as previous releases in terms of having Sky Go supported on the new OS.

With lots happening in the next couple of months in terms of device releases and the possibility of a new OS from Android and of course Apple, we'll have to wait to see if those promises are dreams or reality. 



>