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BBC News

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Official BBC News app finally arrives but is it worth the wait?

BBC News Review

by on May 26, 2011

The BBC may pride itself on its non-biased approach to news gathering, but when it comes to mobile operating systems the corporation has favoured Apple’s iOS. The official BBC News app has been residing on the Apple App Store for a good 10 months now, while we at Team Android waited… and waited… and waited.

Thankfully the wait is now over and the BBC News for Android app is every bit as good as its iOS brethren. Load the application up and you are immediately presented with a visual wall of stories. Neatly nestled in rows, you have pretty much the same choice of news as you find on the BBC website.

Each row on the app is populated with around 10 stories; to see them all you just have to swipe yo the right. You can configure the categories you see by going to the bottom of the app and clicking Add Category.

Once you find a story you like, click it and the article appears almost immediately. From here you can tap the screen and make the text bigger or share the article through social networks and the like.

Once you are in an article, you don’t have to go to the homepage to rifle through more stories – simply swipe the screen and another article in that specific category appears.

There’s a lot of video that can be accessed and all this uses the same iPlayer style video player. So, even if you click on a video within an article you will be transported to a separate page. Wait a few seconds and the video will load. Obviously we would recommend doing this on Wi-Fi as it will cane your 3G if not.

The BBC News for Android app is a fantastic addition to the Android Market but there’s a few niggles that stop it from being perfect. For instance, it’s a little strange that you can pinch a zoom within an article – while this is usually a great feature to have, it didn’t seem to reconfigure the text on our screen. There’s also a lack of landscape mode, which will irk those using the app on a tablet.

That is if you are using a tablet that’s not Honeycomb, as those who are packing Android 3.0 will still have to hold tight for the BBC to do their thing, as this app currently isn’t compatible.

If you are on Android 2.3 or below, though, then this is absolutely essential.

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