The Beeb has today taken the wraps off of its BBC News app for Android phones. The long-awaited official BBC News app presents articles in a Taptu-style interface, with stories ranked in scrollable sections marked World, UK, Sport, Technology and so on. You scroll left and right between the various rows of stories until you find something that catches your eye.
Tapping on a link then fullscreens the story which you can scroll through at your leisure. Things like text size can be adjusted in the settings, and you’ve also got the option to filter what appears in your news stream, if you don’t want to hear about Politics or Sport, for example.
Some of the lead images in stories will bear a little iPlayer icon on (like the one above). These play a full video in widescreen mode when tapped on. From the home page of the app theres also a ‘Live’ option which lets you stream the BBC News channel on your phone.
Though the description in the Market says that BBC News works on phones running 1.6 Donut and higher, you’ll need to have Flash Player installed (which requires Android 2.2 Froyo) for video streaming.
We found that the video quality not as good as that of the iPlayer app on our Nexus One. Also, we found that streaming live footage over 3G wasn’t anywhere near as clear or stable as it was over Wi-Fi. But then this is to be expected.
British expats should also note that this app is only available to download from the Market if you’re in the UK. However, the BBC’s blog post says that BBC Worldwide will be launching an international version of the app soon.
Now all we need are iPlayer and News apps for Android tablets and we’re all set.
Update: Wow, that was quick. The BBC has just pushed an update out for the News app, enabling full screen mode for tablets.