BBC iPlayer heads to Android phones

Android users, still smarting over the arrival of the iPhone 4? Worry not, you've just got something that the iPhone cannot offer - the BBC iPlayer, offered via browser rather than as an app.

Ok, that's the positivity out of way, not for the 'buts' in this announcement. For a start, you'll need Android 2.2, which rules out most of you. Although with the update filtering through, that might not be the case for too long. Similarly, you'll also needs Flash 10.1, which is compatible with the latest Android OS. Again, not a big issue. But you'll also need a powerful processor, which might cause a problem, depending on the handset you own.

Finally - and this could be quite an issue - BBC iPlayer will only work via Wi-Fi. So if you're not in a hotspot or at home, you can forget it.

So good news and bad news, although we think the good certainly outweighs the bad. Shame it couldn't come as an app, but with the BBC still discussing its position re apps, that was never gong to happen.

What you do get is a site optimised for touchscreen handsets, which will throw out a 400kbps Flash stream of your favourite TV show. That should mean impressive quality, but on a very small screen. If you're watching at home, the temptation will surely be to turn on your laptop or console for something big screen. But if you happen to be in work and with access to the office Wi-Fi, could be great for sneaking off and watching a bit of TV while no one is looking.

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