Out at the Mobile World Congress event, the BBC has announced it is to offer a new range of free applications that will deliver BBC services to a range of smartphones including iPhones, BlackBerry and Android handsets.

BBC director of future media and technology Erik Huggers said that the BBC is planning to release mobile applications for BBC News and BBC Sport, kicking off with a BBC News app for iPhone and iPod touch in April. 

“It’s been 12 years since the launch of BBC Online, but as media converges and technology accelerates, licence fee payers are increasingly using sophisticated handheld devices to access information", said Huggers.

"They tell us that they want to access the digital services that they have paid for at a time and place that suits them. Today’s announcement means that we are catching up with our audiences, and the same content that we broadcast on television and make available online can now be better enjoyed on the move. We are putting technology to work to create greater public value".

BBC News applications will follow "later in the year" for Blackberry and Android handsets, while the BBC says it "will also work with other providers to enable these applications on their mobile devices".

Again favouring the iPhone platform, the BBC says a BBC Sport application will be available in the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch in time for the 2010 World Cup with a "live match experience" said to be at the heart of the app.

The BBC has also said it is considering BBC iPlayer applications for release later in the year, but provided no further info. We will keep you posted.

As a licence fee payer, are you happy with the BBC seemingly prioritising the iPhone over other platforms? It could be argued there are almost certainly more Brits with Symbian handsets than Apple ones - should the greatest number of potential viewers not be considered in these matters? Have your say in the comments box below...