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The Australian Broadcasting Corporation updated its flagship ABC app today.
New features in the mouth-watering iOS version include a new look, new navigation, and an alarm called "Wake Up with the ABC", which will sound an ABC News theme alarm, then start streaming your choice of ABC News 24, one of the ABC's radio streams, an ABC podcast, or ABC News in 90 seconds.
Meanwhile on Android, it has some new formatting in the news stories and not much else. It's barely up to the functionality of the original iOS release.
In response to this disparity, I inhaled one standard non-recommended dosage of Sydney Institute, and questioned the ABC on its clear bias in favour of Apple products. Mark Dando, head of Online and Mobile for ABC Innovation was on hand to answer our questions.
How does the ABC address allegations that it is suffering from iOS bias?
The ABC prioritises mobile development resources by considering the numbers of visits using each platform to access the ABC. Of all the visits to ABC online on mobile devices, 67 percent are using iOS (down from 72 percent a year ago), 20 percent are using Android (up from 13 percent a year ago). All other mobile devices make up 13 percent of visits.
Are we ever likely to see feature parity between Android and iOS versions of the ABC's apps?
We first released the flagship ABC app for Android in March 2009, updating it again several times most recently in April last year and again in February this year.
Yesterday, we released v2.1 of the flagship ABC app for Android, which now offers ABC News in 90 Seconds bulletins and has a much stronger news offering. We resolved some bugs to improve the presentation of stories, and have also added inline audio and video to those stories.
A further update of the ABC flagship app for Android is already being prepared in order to match all the features and navigation of the iOS apps. We plan to release this soon.
While this all sounds good, I am still concerned that the taxpayer-funded broadcaster does not have a single Android commentator on Radio National.
(Image: Royal Agricultural Society of NSW)
Sydney Royal Easter Show 2013
Here's an app that fits into the "as it says on the tin" category.
The app contains entertainment listings, full showbag listing, rides, food and drink, map, and where to see all the cute farm animals.
Interestingly, one feature is called "New Sense cam" that lets you "select one of the Five Sense characters to be in your pic, and share it with your friends".
Photo-bombing your own Show pics is now the done thing, and it saves one poor person having to sweat it out in a mascot uniform.
An app that could save your life? They don't arrive very often, but here is a good idea put out by VicRoads.
The app silences the phone and sends automated text responses to people who call or SMS your phone while it is enabled. Upon disabling the app, a summary of calls and messages received is shown.
Unfortunately it appears to only have standard replies, a few more minutes of development time could really make this app much more useful.