Every Android phone and tablet can now download programmes from the BBC iPlayer app, provided they’re running 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or later.
When the BBC finally made iPlayer downloads possible on its Android app, only selected devices were able to save programmes for offline viewing. Only the 11 most popular devices were supported at launch, with the plan of supporting other devices further down the line.
However, public demand has led to that policy being scrapped, according to senior product manager for BBC iPlayer mobile apps David Berlin.
“We are now offering video downloads functionality by default to all Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) or above,” Berlin said.
“We believe the vast majority of devices will enjoy a great video downloading experience,” Berlin added. “However, with more than five thousand different phone, phablet and tablet models able to install the BBC iPlayer Android app, there are likely to be a number of devices that exhibit bugs concerning download behaviour.”
Berlin added that if there was a major issue with the downloads feature that is affecting a particular device, the BBC had the option to disable this feature for that specific model/OS combination, while it assessed whether it can be fixed.
“We can’t promise that we will fix every issue that is brought to our attention (there may be device limitations that prevent us from doing so) but we will seek to address problems according to the complexity of the issue, as well as the UK popularity and the user numbers of the device itself,” he said.
According to the latest figures from Google, over 80 per cent of Android devices worldwide are running 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. The BBC says that 96 per cent of viewers who use the iPlayer Android app will now be able to download programmes. Previously, the BBC has said that older versions of Android would be supported, although there’s no word yet of when that might happen.