BBC iPlayer Usage, iOS vs. Android 2.2 Devices

From a Freedom of Information request in the UK:

In July 2010 6,400 programmes were streamed  from the BBC iPlayer to Android devices. […]

In July 2010 there were 5,272,464 programmes requested via the BBC iPlayer from Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices.

Why so striking a difference? Because Android users can only access iPlayer using Flash, Flash is only available on Android 2.2, and the overwhelming majority of Android handsets — even brand-new ones — are still running older versions of the OS.

But, of course, there are no iOS users with Flash installed. That’s what I see as the main problem with Android’s official support for Flash: it gives providers like the BBC an easy way out. Would there exist a dedicated iPlayer app for the iPhone if iOS had supported Flash all along? Does Android’s support for Flash make it less likely that the BBC will develop a native iPlayer app for Android?

(And wouldn’t you like to see a battery life comparison between iPlayer on an iPhone 4 and a few Android phones running the Flash version?)

Update: My bad: ends up the BBC iPlayer for iOS devices is not a native app — it’s a web app that serves H.264 video streams. But then why can’t Android phones use that, too?

Friday, 27 August 2010