blog Those of us who use Android (which once again includes your humble writer, as I was able to use a kit from the good guys at iFixit to repair my ailing Nexus 4 last night) have long bemoaned the lack of support for the ABC’s popular iView streaming IPTV app. While there are various workaround for the situation, many people have long felt that the ABC has been dragging its heels on the issue and should just get a quick and dirty Android iView app as it has done for iOS. Well, Chinese manufacturer Huawei, which has launched several solid Android models in Australia over the past several years, has lost patience. It tells the world in a media release issued this morning:
Huawei Devices has called on the ABC to drop its anti-Android bias and get the iView app on Android smartphones ASAP. With the latest smartphone sales figures showing Android devices now make up the overwhelming majority of Australian smartphones, Huawei has said it’s time for the public broadcaster to stop playing technology favourites.
“Like many Australian Android users, I have been hearing ‘the Android iView app is coming’ for far too long,” said Huawei Corporate Affairs Director Jeremy Mitchell. “Despite the claims of the ABC, there has been no real evidence that there is any desire to fill this blatant gap. It feels like Godot will arrive before the iView app gets here on Android.”
As more and more Australians turn to mobile devices to watch online video, the ABC’s iView service remains unobtainable for Australian Android users. Huawei is one of the world’s top-5 smartphone makers, with Huawei Android smartphones now available through all major Australian carriers.
“Is the ABC the Apple Broadcast Corporation or the Anti-droid Broadcast Corporation? Looking at the evidence, they both fit so well,” Mr Mitchell said.
The ABC was granted $30 million in taxpayer funds to strengthen its online service delivery in 2013, yet the iView app has been available only for Apple since 2010 – a technological lifetime ago. The ABC itself has said that demand for its Android news app has grown by 360% over the past year, yet the broadcaster has been dragging its heels in bringing the popular iView service to Android smartphones and tablets.
“It’s disappointing that the public broadcaster has turned its back on the predominant operating system which is free, open, and not aligned to one particular company. Rather, the ABC has continued to favour one company’s product and platform,” Mr Mitchell said. “This is a public policy issue – imagine if the ABC only broadcast their TV programming to one brand of television – it’s outrageous!”
I understand that the issue with iView on Android is that the ABC is seeking to redevelop its iView platform in HTML5, which will make it much easier for it to deploy across all mobile platforms and do simultaneous upgrades. However, I think it’s clear that the broadcaster has significantly underestimated how much effort that will take, and that it should have just taken a quick punt on a basic Android app quite a while ago, given the popularity of the mobile operating system. Failing to have an app on the now-dominant mobile platform is not a good look for our national broadcaster, and I like that Huawei, as a device manufacturer, is calling the ABC on this one. It’s time.
Image credit: ABC