Media Player brings support for Jelly Bean devices
The new player comes out of the Adobe's decision to stop supporting its Flash Player plug-in. The Media Player will step in to handle video and audio content when needed including, importantly, the iPlayer.
The BBC explained in a blog post that it needed to develop a solution for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean users, while catering for older versions, namely 2.3 Gingerbread, which accounts for the majority of Android devices. The solution also needed to work for websites and apps, meet security obligations and minimise the change to its current infrastructure.
"We looked at a number of different solutions, for example, Http Live Streaming (HLS) which is used to stream BBC media to other platforms. Unfortunately, HLS isn't supported on Android OS versions prior to Honeycomb." said the Beeb.
"In the end, Flash was still the best choice of media format for us to use. And the only practical technology for us to play this format back on Android is Adobe Air."
The new technology is already being used on the iPlayer website and the Media Player app is available to download from the Play Store. A quick play on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus running Jelly Bean reveals iPlayer content on the mobile site redirects to the app and plays fine.
Unfortunately downloads for offline viewing, something with has been recently brought to the iPhone and iPad will only reach Android users in 'the coming months'.