The BBC has turned to Adobe Air to help keep its BBC iPlayer application for Android working, as more and more devices upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It has created a new technology called BBC Media Player, and this will soon be integrated into its iPlayer app.
As Adobe has withdrawn its own Flash Player support for Android versions above Ice Cream Sandwich, the Beeb was in a position where its own catch-up service app could fail to work on new mobile devices. However, with its Media Player, that shouldn't be an issue.
The broadcaster is trialling the software on its mobile view HTML version of iPlayer available to Android tablets and smartphones. It will release the new version of BBC iPlayer for Android on the Google Play market next week.
It has also given reasons as to why the organisation has decided to stick with Flash to deliver its media content on Android. Not only did the new iPlayer need to work across new Jelly Bean devices and those that upgrade, but also on older handsets and tablets still running Gingerbread, Froyo and Honeycomb. Indeed, Gingerbread use still makes up for more than 50 per cent of the Android handsets in circulation.
In addition, the corporation needed to adhere to existing security agreements struck with content rights holders, and it was also after a solution that it could undertake without significant cost.
The BBC does acknowledge that some Adobe Air-based apps have had some negative feedback, and that it may look to altering its plans in the future, but for now it's happy that the new version of BBC iPlayer will at least work across all manner of Android devices.