Saturday, June 1, 2013

BBC on the difficulty of targeting the Android platform

The BBC trust recently responded to a complaint that "the BBC had favoured iOS (Apple) over other mobile platforms with greater market share". The response essentially exonerates the BBC, concluding that "there was no evidence that the BBC had unfairly favoured the iOS platform when making development decisions and allocating resources". The apparent favouring of iOS was in a fact found to be for "objective" reasons in their parlance: essentially, the BBC's argument (upheld by the BBC Trust) is that it has so far been a more practical choice to focus on iOS because of the currently higher up-take vs development effort compared to development on Android, a less homogeneous platform and one with lesser rates of "engagement" as they put it.

From comments I have read from developers, it appears that some agree with this sentiment. But other Android developers apparently see the lack of homogeneity among Android devices as less of an obstacle than the BBC does. Some of the issues faced by small developers, without the resources to have multiple test devices, should be less of an issue for the BBC.

As Apple CEO Tim Cook has been keen to point out in a recent interview and in other conference presentations, Apple devices are responsible for proportionally more web traffic generally than other devices put together, possible supporting the BBC's "engagement" argument.

It will be interesting to see how this situation changes in the near future...

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