BBC Sport app kicks off on iOS, Android warming up on sidelines

BBC Sport app kicks off on iOS, Android warming up on sidelines
BBC Sport - coming to all good handsets soon

Given the great reception for its standout Olympics app, you might be wondering why the BBC is only just getting round to producing an official Sport app, but the good news is that it's arrived for iOS and only a couple of weeks away from the Android platform.

Currently looking a lot like the mobile site, the app nevertheless comes with some nifty features including customisable content and a handy fixtures calendar.

But it will be the forthcoming functionality that will appeal most, with product manager Lucie McLean explaining to us that video and the ability to add your favourite teams to the navigation are imminent.

The BBC hopes that the app will be a must-have download for sports fans following key events like next year's Commonwealth Games, the tennis at Wimbledon and, of course, next season's World Cup.

Olympic gold

"The Olympics app went really well - we learned a lot, learned what the audience likes and made a decision on how we would approach the BBC Sport app based on how that went," she said.

"We wanted our content everywhere and, for the Sport app, we are taking the a same approach so we can offer that content and augment it with things you can only do or are just cooler with apps.

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"We've got plans for lots of native features - this is release one. The Android app is coming in a couple of weeks - and I honestly do mean a couple of weeks, it's almost there."

Only the most popular seven sports get the royal treatment at first, with other sports' content accessible through an in-app browser for now, although that will soon change.

And again

The BBC is mindful that Android users aren't especially pleased to be behind Apple users, but McLean explained the thinking behind the decision and what differentiates the app on the two platforms.

"With Android we are trying to serve much more screen sizes - the main difference is that the navigation is on the left - it looks more Androidy," she said.

"We could have held and launched both together but that would have been quite dangerous launching two big products if there are issues.

Football on BBC Sport app

"[We said] 'let's get one out there, get some feedback and make sure it works and then get Android out there as well'.

"And then in another few weeks video will be in as well; live video and on demand - that's coming in a few weeks time. It could possibly come at launch for Android but I wouldn't like to say for definite."

Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 support

Users of popular 7-inch Android tablets Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 will be delighted that their devices WILL be given some love, a priority for the Beeb's team after not getting the Olympics app out for the devices.

"For the Olympics we had this beautiful app built and two weeks later the Nexus 7 came out," added McLean.

"I checked it out on [the device] and it wasn't good enough, so people weren't very happy understandably.

"So this time all of those Christmas-stockinged Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDs will be supported by the Android app and they look great, as well as the ones in the middle like the Galaxy Note.

"We are just doing the Google Play now but it will work from launch - that's a lot of extra testing but it's absolutely worth it."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.