iToldYouSo


Two years ago, a bunch of smart people told the BBC that its plans to build iPlayer for Android on Adobe Flash was nuts.

We argued loudly, passionately, deployed logic and reason, and provided specific technical details.

Naturally, we were ignored.

Sure, Flash was only on a few high end devices now, but the BBC were confident that Flash would be soon be available on all Android devices and our perceived problems would evaporate.

Naturally, reality decided to ignore their wishful thinking.

Two years and one week after the BBC announced its Flash for Android strategy, Adobe announced it was killing Flash for Android.

High end Android devices like the Nexus - and any device running Android 4.1 would be incapable of running Flash. So there was no way to use iPlayer.

This failure is exactly what happens when you choose vendor driven proprietary "solutions" rather than established and open standards.

This embarrassing turn of events is exactly what happens when you refuse to listen to the geeks making logical arguments.

This monumental cock-up over the Olympics is exactly what happens when you refuse to engage with reality and let prejudice drive your decision making process.

Here are the facts:

  • Most Android devices cannot use the Flash based iPlayer app.
  • Mobile Flash is now dead for future phones and tablets.
  • Android devices can play exactly the same files as those served to the iPhone via iPlayer
    .

So why not just serve up the iPhone's MP4 files to any device which can play them? The BBC refuse to answer that simple question.

Want to know something funny? I was blogging about how to deliver iPlayer's iPhone streams to other models of mobile in March 2008!

Plus ça change.

We can only guess what shenanigans were involved with the BBC's original decision to bet the Android farm on Flash.

Perhaps now our BBC will pay more attention to the geeks who care so much about it.

3 thoughts on “iToldYouSo

  1. Terence - have you also calculated how much time/effort/money the BBC have saved just in the last 2 years by using flash?

    1. That's the point - it hasn't saved any money. All of their iPhone streams were playable on Android (that's what the myPlayer app did before they had it shut down).

      So, they've spent money encoding to Flash when they didn't need to. Designing apps which used flash. And who knows what else.

      Whatever supposed advantages Flash had - saving money wasn't one of them.

      It was they equivalent of telling anyone with a Sony TV that they had to use a special converter box to watch TV - even if their tv was compatible with regular broadcasts.

  2. Why did they split up with Adobe? I thought that was one of the big advantages from android over ios? But when everything is lost, you can root your android much more easy than your iphone.

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