Popular media client XBMC recently announced an app for Android on the developer blog for XBMC. The app requires no root or jailbreaks, say the developers. “XBMC can be launched as an application on your set-top-box, tablet, phone, or wherever else Android may be found.”
The Android version is said to have the entire feature-set of the desktop versions of XBMC. The blog says, “Running your favorite media-center software on small, cheap, embedded hardware is about to become a hassle-free reality. And as Android-based set-top-boxes are becoming more and more ubiquitous, it couldn’t be a better time.”
Primary development of the app is said to be done on a Pivos XIOS DS set-top-box. The blog continues, “And that is no coincidence; you will notice that Pivos is now listed as an official sponsor. XBMC is stable and works great there, as well as on various tablets and phones. Though with Android, as many of you probably know, that is only the beginning of the story.” The developers state that they have been working for Pivos for the last few months.
The blog states that currently, only the software decode of audio and video is hooked up for most devices. “We considered waiting until universal hardware decode was ready before making our announcement, but in the end decided that in the spirit of keeping things open and working with our ever-expanding community, it made sense to open up sooner rather than later.”
The desktop version of XBMC
Developers of the open source media client have released a video that shows the client in action on an Android device. The port seems to be fully functional, but the developers say that it isn’t quite “ready for prime-time”. They will begin releasing the APKs for the app to interested beta testers in the coming weeks. Since XBMC is open source, the developers have made the source code available.
The developers are currently also tackling the problem of having a proper UI for small-screen devices such as phones. “Typically, XBMC skins have been designed for use on a TV, so use on a small phone can be clunky. But there is nothing keeping skinners from creating more functional touch-oriented skins, like the included “Touched” skin from Jezz_X.”
There are many details left to iron out, state the developers, mainly related to the wide variety of Android devices available. The minimum requirements for the app have not been set due to lack of testing on exotic devices.
The app plans to take complete advantage of being on Android. “There are so many interesting features that we could take advantage of: launching apps, location awareness, speech recognition, on and on.”
XBMC is very popular with owners of home theater systems where they can hook up their computers to their TV. The media client makes browsing through a video or music collection very easy on a large screen. There are also a variety of skins available for the client. One of the main reasons for the popularity of the client is that the client has every video and audio codec one might need to watch movies and shows in different file formats.