The ABC has updated its flagship Android app with new features and a completely overhauled interface. Version 3.0 boasts fresh radio and TV content, the ‘Wake up with the ABC’ alarm clock and improvements to how news stories are presented.
Here's the full list of new features:
- Page turn or open the drawer menu to explore the latest news, TV and radio content produced by the ABC.
- Wake Up With The ABC (Set the alarm within the app to wake up to ABC News in 90 Seconds, ABC News 24, selected ABC Radio podcasts or any ABC live radio streams).
- Play related audio and video on article pages or choose from a selection of 80+ podcasts and live streams of Radio and TV.
- Pull down category pages to refresh content.
- Set app to only play media files over WiFi.
- Find related ABC TV and Radio shows while browsing each topic.
- Check weather and stories that are relevant to location.
In other words, the new version is finally on par with the iOS version of the app. The last time the ABC Android app received a major update was in early 2012; much to the chagrin of Android-using tax payers. However, we should be seeing a bigger focus on Google's mobile operating system from the ABC moving forward.
The corporation acknowledged there has been a significant shift towards its Android app recently, with the total download numbers more than tripling (360%) in the past year. ABC Innovation director Angela Clark said plans were underway to release more Android apps in the future.
“We get a lot of feedback from our audience members asking us to produce more Android apps and we are putting more resources into mobile this year to enable us to better service all mobile users,” Clark said in a statement. At last count, the Play Store had only three ABC-produced apps, compared to over twenty for iPad and iPhone.
As we have noted in the past, there's really no excuse for iOS favouritism when it comes to service-based software from governments and large corporations. After all, the Android OS has surged ahead of Apple in the Australian smartphone market and is now the best-selling mobile platform on the planet. It's nice to see that the ABC is starting to get its act together; albeit slowly.
You can download the Android ABC app here.