As we previously reported, the UK broadcaster inked a deal with Microsoft to bring its uber-popular streaming app to Windows Phone by summer time. This would mean that it’s available on Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and iOS.
However, it’s worth noting here the app actually comes in the form of a shortcut that wraps the mobile website version of iPlayer with its media player app – which the BBC developed to circumvent issues with Flash on Android – allowing iPlayer to work on Windows Phone 8 handsets via a live tile.
The app works over 3G or WiFi, and has a favorites section (as with other iPlayer mobile apps) that lets users add episodes to watch later. The app can also be minimized to listen to BBC Radio in the background.
The BBC previously suggested it would also be available for Windows Phone 7.5, but that’s not happening now.
“Unfortunately, platform limitations with Windows Phone 7.5 have meant we’ve been unable to provide the same quality playback experience as on Windows Phone 8,” explains Dave Price Head of BBC iPlayer, Programmes and On Demand, BBC Future Media. “This led to the joint decision not to make BBC iPlayer available on Windows Phone 7.5.”
It’s no coincidence that today’s launch was timed to coincide with Nokia’s latest flagship Windows Phone 8 Lumia phone which landed yesterday. Both Microsoft and Nokia are keen to get as many of the top apps on board as possible, and yesterday Hipstamatic announced its new Oggl photo app for Windows Phone 8 – before it’s even on Android.
Given its partnership with Microsoft for this, it’s not entirely clear how much of its own resources the BBC will be dedicating to supporting Windows Phone 8, though it’s probably fair to say it won’t come close to what it’s putting in to iOS and Android which still dominate the smartphone market.
If Microsoft can ensure more top apps are made available for Windows Phone devices, it will certainly stand a better chance of securing a bigger share of the market.
BBC iPlayer is available to download for Windows Phone 8 now.