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BBC unveils new range of smartphone apps

18 февраля 2010

The BBC on Wednesday unveiled a raft of new mobile applications that enable users to tailor the way its content is accessed via smartphones.

Announced during a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the first of the U.K. broadcaster's new apps allows users to access and scroll through BBC News content intuitively using a touchscreen.

"We want you as a consumer to be able to control it with one hand," said Erik Huggers, director of the BBC's future media and technology division, who demonstrated how the software works.

"You can scroll through topics and personalise [them] to your taste," he said.

The application also makes more use of audio and visual content, including clickable images that link to news stories, some of which incorporate video.

Huggers said the BBC News application will launch first on the iPhone in April, followed by BlackBerrys and Android phones.

"We want to be as device-neutral as possible," he said.

Two other applications are on the way – one that provides the latest sports news and gossip, and the BBC's popular iPlayer catch-up TV service.

Huggers said the new applications have arrived at a time when the BBC is seeing a surge in the number of people who access its services on their phones.

"February 2009 – snow day – we saw a 40% increase in mobile BBC consumption, as people were stuck on buses and trains, or wanted to know whether schools were open," he said.

"We expected the traffic to fall back again. It didn't," he said.

Huggers said mobile BBC consumption surged by a factor of 14 on the day of pop legend Michael Jackson's death.

"Again, we expected traffic to fall away but it didn't," he said.

The BBC found that after people had used the service once, they kept returning to it, said Huggers.

However, Huggers also expressed frustration at the fragmentation of mobile device platforms.

"As a broadcaster we're used to broadcasting once and the receivers just work... 21 flavours of iPlayer is madness," he said.

"Do we all need to have our own proprietary app store? Why should we have to reformat our apps for every device?" he asked.

Источник: Total Telecom

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