Along with its iPad counterpart, the BBC iPlayer app for Android phones arrived in the Market today.
Designed to work with phones running on 2.2/Froyo and above, the iPlayer app does exactly what you’d expect it to: catch up on BBC TV and Radio programmes from the last 7 days on your Android phone. No more worrying about missing Woman’s Hour or I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.
Though we’re overjoyed to finally get this app on our Nexus One and HTC Desire, it’s still early days yet.
Watching TV in particular can be tricky. We found that only on the lowest quality setting could we watch full episodes uninterrupted. On anything higher we found the app kept pausing play as it waited for it to buffer, even when connected to Wi-Fi.
The horizontal slider, which you use to scroll to specific parts of a programme, doesn’t always respond and can be fiddly to use.
As with the iPad app, listening to radio is much more reliable. Shows load a lot more quickly and aren’t prone to the same buffering problem.
We found Rick Wakeman to be just as annoying as a guest on Radio 4’s Just A Minute as he is a host on his own radio show, but that’s not really the app’s fault. We imagine that with time quality will improve and these things will be ironed out.
But if you haven’t already invested in a SlingBox, then this is your best bet for watching Top Gear/Charlie Brooker on your Android phone.