BBC to bring its iPlayer to Windows Phone, but lack of native app points to a murky future

Daniel Bader

March 5, 2013 10:13 am

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The Beeb is planning to make its iPlayer compatible with Windows Phone devices in the next couple of months. But instead of building a native app, the BBC has opted to frame its mobile website in a Windows Phone-compatible HTML5 wrapper, which will inevitably raise questions as to why the company is going this route. Development costs aside, the BBC is tacitly cautioning other big-name developers against building native apps for Windows Phone by saying, We’ll give them a few crumbs and because they’re on a minority operating system they’ll grin and bear it.

But this isn’t the first time the BBC has danced this dance; Canadians have access to its international iPlayer on iOS — iPhone and iPad — but have yet to expand availability to Android users. Instead, only British citizens have access to the native iPlayer on Android. We tested the iOS version of the app when it launched in Canada and loved it; this is the way subscription television should work on mobile.

Canadians won’t have anything to worry about when iPlayer arrives on Windows Phone as a live tile shortcut to the mobile website; we likely won’t be able to use it. But Microsoft can’t be thrilled that the company, with the resources it has, is choosing to forgo a native Windows Phone experience in favour of a HTML5 wrapper.

We’ll have more information in the coming months, as the BBC gets closer to releasing the product.

Via: BBC

  • iphoneeeeeeeeee

    iBBC
    iWindows
    iHTC

  • Dalex

    Did you just call BBC the Beeb? Really? Comparing a reputable company to Justin Freaking Bieber? Ish is about to go down :P

  • KeithH

    Dalex, the BBC has been referred to as the “Beeb” for longer than Justin has been alive.

    Regarding the “resources it has”, the beeb has been having its budget seriously curtailed. Also, they are are concerned about providing support to international users who don’t help fund their activities.

  • No one cares about WP7 or 8

    Can’t blame the BBC, Windows Phone is a dead brand. No one cares.

  • hoo dat

    A friend of mine who works with the BBC here in Canada suggested that a full native app will come if the uptake of the skinned app does reasonably well. And before anyone suggests otherwise, they are already working on a native BlackBerry app.

    • Telusdoesnotcare

      You Blackberry shills disgust me. I’m calling you out on your BS.

      The BBC is making a native iPlayer for Blackberry? Oh really? What next, you’re going to claim they’re making a native iPlayer for Firefox OS??

      This here is OFFICIAL news. Microsoft has officially partnered with the BBC to bring the iPlayer app to Windows Phone.

      Until I hear OFFICIAL news on anything, I won’t believe a word you Blackberry shills are saying.

      According to you shills, BB10 will get a native Instagram, a native iPlayer app, and supposedly a bunch of other native apps. I don’t believe a word of it though.

    • hoo dat

      So, let me see if I’ve got this right: Everyone who has the slightest bit of positive news about BlackBerry that you disagree with is a shill? LMAO! Then it’s not going to be an awful lot of fun for you over the next few weeks/months is it?

      Instagram is due in a couple of weeks, the developers have already shown the native BB10 app. Whatsapp was ready to go at launch but security issues were discovered and the app was put on hold until they were sorted. It should be launched in a couple of week too. Skype has said all along they’ll have a BB10 app and it looks like it’ll be released at the end of the month. To top it off major native apps have been released almost on a daily basis since launch.

      So, there you have it. You can call me a shill until the cows come home, I really don’t care. But I have to admit it is rather enjoyable watching you fandroids eat major crow every time one of your far fetched predictions about BB’s near demise come crashing to the ground.

    • Telusdoesnotcare

      Native Instagram was shown weeks ago? Bullshit! The Instragram shown weeks ago was the Android version side-loaded on BB10 and NOT a native app.

      Nice try calling me a Fandroid you shill, shows you really know nothing. I hate Android and I also hate Blackberry. However I hate Blackberry more than I hate Android.

      No what you’re posting isn’t “the slightest bit of positive news” for Blackberry. First off, Syrup is a well-known Blackberry shill site. Secondly, your sorry a*s posts on EVERY single Blackberry news bulletin on Syrup, which confirms your shill status. Thirdly, you claim that you have a “friend” in every god damn major company. You claim you have a “friends” working at BBC, Rogers, Blackberry, Telus, Bell, NASA, the moon, and on and on the list goes. Must be nice having so many imaginary friends.

      Blackberry going down is not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN. Blackberry WILL go down, this is guaranteed. Then you shills will be out of a job, and will have to find another company to shill for.

      In addition, this is a post about WINDOWS PHONE, but Bullshitberry 10. Yet your shill a*s came here to shill about Blackberry ANYWAYS, even though this is not a Blackberry news bulletin. Your shilling is getting out of control.

    • hoo dat

      Oh dear. You really have lost it this time, haven’t you.

    • Telusdoesnotcare

      Looks like I shut you up for the time being.

    • hoo dat

      LMAO!

  • iPoop in your corn flakes

    Boring

  • Tom

    Sadly, a lot of Android apps are similar to this – they just repackage the mobile website in a webview wrapper and the experience is no different from just launching the mobile website. This can be a very bad thing, i.e. the super laggy Steam app for Android.

    But a lot of people absolutely need to hear the word “app”…

  • Al

    Dalex, in the UK it’s commonly referred to as the “beeb” even inside the BBC itself. You’ll hear it’s radio presenters using the term a lot. It’s also referred to, more occasionally, as “Auntie”.

    As for the windows app…The BBC is publicly funded so there is likely a lot of analysis into whether it’s worth investing in particular technologies or platforms. If WP8 takes off they’ll likely produce it more fully.

  • glonq

    As a developer, I find it unfortunate that the native development languages and frameworks for iOS (Obj-c), Android (Java) and WP (C#) are so different and incompatible. You basically have to write your app three times. Or, more likely, you write it for iOS and Android but ignore WP because it just isn’t worth the effort. Not yet, anyways.