Got Android Jelly Bean? No NBC Olympics for you!

Apple's iOS has cool video streaming apps for the 2012 London Summer Games. So does Google's Android. But tough luck if you have a Jelly Bean device.
Written by Jason Perlow, Senior Contributing Writer

UPDATED 07/25/2012 0946 EST: Google appears to have resolved the Olympics application issues with Google Play on the Nexus 7 as of very early this morning.


So tonight, I was lying down on my cushy new Serta iSeries gel mattress on the floor of my bedroom in my new Florida home basking in the bohemian laziness that is "no bedroom furniture yet".

I was bored, so I grabbed both of my two tablets, my iPad 3 and my barely-scratched Nexus 7.

Despite my current mental state of enduring 97 degree heat with 120 percent humidity that was clearly reducing the network efficiency of my synaptic pathways, I was aware that the summer Olympics was soon to begin, so I figured I'd check out and see what cool new apps existed.

Well, it turns out that NBC does have some cool new apps for the Olympic games. 

Two in fact.

The first is an event summary/scoring/news/medal count application, which has some neat social networking integration stuff, and the second, called the "Live Extra" allows you to view live video feeds of all of the events provided you have some form of subscription TV service.

And yes, both apps exist on iOS and Android. How'd they do that? Well, as it turns out, they are both written using Adobe's cross-platform toolkit that allows you to take Flash code and compile it natively on either iOS or Android.

Cool, huh?

So I installed the iPad version from the App Store first. Runs, no problem. No content yet, but things aren't heating up until the 27th.

Next, I whip out the Nexus 7. I search for "Olympics" in Google Play. All I get back are third party results, not the NBC apps. Wha?

I opened up Chrome and searched for "Android olympics apps" and it directed me to NBC's landing page, which in turn fires up links to the Google Play store for the Live Extra and regular mobile apps.

And what happened? The Google Play screen for the NBC apps say "This application is incompatible with your hardware."

Wait, what? This is Google's flagship product and operating system! Why the heck wouldn't it work? And why are they filtering the results out on the Nexus 7?

Sure enough, I tried it on my wife's Droid Bionic running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Works fine. Tried it on my Ice Cream Sandwich-based Verizon Galaxy Nexus. Works fine.

Well, it turns out... That if you have a Jelly Bean-based device, you're probably screwed. The reason for this is that Flash isn't supported on Jelly Bean within the browser or via the dedicated player application, whatsoever.

UPDATE: I am awaiting confirmation from Adobe that this problem is actually a DRM/Content rights issue, not Flash-Related.

Of course, this is the direct fallout from Adobe ceasing development on Mobile Flash, which I broke the story on last year. 

Now, I'm not entirely sure why this manifests itself on natively compiled Android apps. I would think that the NBC stuff would run within the NDK, but perhaps a veteran Android developer can explain this better to me.

After all, if you can cross-compile the code to run on an iOS device, which has very serious restrictions about running Flash code at all, then what's the issue?

All I know is that I'm a Nexus 7 user and I'm left out -- and so is everyone who bought a GSM Galaxy Nexus and got their Jelly Bean update, as far as I can tell, unless someone has a creative hackerish solution.

UPDATE: I've recieved reports that the Galaxy Nexus GSM updated to Jelly Bean can run the Olympics apps, but the Nexus 7 and other various phones running AOSP ROMs cannot.

Did Google screw up by leaving legacy Mobile Flash support out of Jelly Bean? Talk Back and Let Me Know.


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