Brightcove is announcing this morning that it has extended its platform to serve Android mobile devices, the latest sign of momentum behind Google's mobile operating system. The new functionality includes an SDK for Android and new mobile templates for Flash Player 10.1, which together cover the spectrum of video viewed in apps and in browsers. Brightcove's president David Mendels provided further insight in a briefing last week.
What Brightcove is now doing for Android mirrors what the company did for the iPhone last November in the Brightcove 4 launch. Resources included in the Android solution are pre-built components for playback, content discovery, and connections into the Brightcove Media API. Next on the Android support roadmap are easy sharing to social media sites, improved navigation and discovery. For Flash 10.1, Brightcove has created a set of templates that will adapt to mobile devices and their playback context. These include right-sized player controls and a UI for smaller mobile screens. Flash 10.1 is now available for Android devices running Android 2.2 ("Froyo") and is also supported on BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, Symbian and others.
David explained that there's significant customer interest in working with Android, but that cost to serve this new OS and its devices is a major concern. Brightcove is attempting to smooth the path for customers as much as possible with the new Android solution. David sees a lot of fragmentation in the mobile video space, with no one format like Flash dominating as was the case in online video. Further, he sees both apps and in-browser video being important for a while, as apps take advantage of the device's native capabilities, offering improved branding and control. All of this means complexity will reign in mobile for some time to come.
Brightcove's and others' Android support comes in the midst of a surge of high-profile Android smartphones, which all coincide with the iPhone 4's launch. Some of the highest profile Android smartphone launches include the HTC Evo (Sprint) and Droid Incredible (Verizon), plus the HTC Aria (AT&T) and LG Ally (Verizon). And this week we'll see the Droid 2 from Motorola (Verizon) and next the Droid X (Verizon). Android is making a serious run at the dominant iPhone franchise and the sheer range of choice vs. Apple's single SKU is no doubt going to be a key factor in this battle. With Android gaining we'll see more support for it from other platforms, content providers and monetization tools.
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