Wednesday, October 13, 2010

NPR, Android and iPhone

Way back in December, 2009 NPR posted this blog entry ( ) about its release of an Android App something along the lines of its already-published iPhone app. The iPhone app, however, had a bunch of features which were not included in the corresponding Android app:

"To be sure, this is not the iPhone app: there are no live streams from stations, no program guide showing you what's playing on stations right now, no sharing tools. With the iPhone app, we tried to release perfection. With the Android, we were more concerned with creating tight code. Tight code means lightweight development, a virtue that will support the open source community that we hope to build around the app. In short, our plan was to build the kernel and leave plenty of room for growth."
( )

Early in June, 2010 there was another blog entry on the Android software:

"We didn't know how fast the Android platform would grow or what kind of an impact it would make. The last six months show us Android's incredible trajectory and that our audience gravitates toward that momentum. Since the app's release in December, we've seen astounding growth, and now over 100,000 people use this new platform each month.

In the spirit of the Android operating system, we’ve decided to make the code for NPR’s app public. We believe this matches perfectly with NPR's public service mission. Public media implies our audiences have a stake in our product, and open source projects are a means to better connect to our stakeholders.

"We want to connect with you.

"If you are a programmer, you know what this is all about. If you find yourself spending your free time hacking up cool things just because it is your passion, then put your energy to a noble cause. Spend some time poking around our app. Not only are you helping NPR and your local member station, but you will get a chance to work with a developer at Google, Michael Frederick. Michael has been responsible for the majority of work in building the NPR Android app and is ready to engage with anyone contributing code to the project."
( )

Now, thanks to the voluntary contributions of prgrammers who really wanted a great NPR app on their Android phones, a page on the NPR website lists these features:

" * Read and listen to the day's top stories from NPR News
* Stay informed via our hourly five-minute newscasts
* Connect to local public radio stations with over 1,000 live NPR station streams
* Make your own playlist
* Listen and read at the same time
* Share your favorite stories via SMS, social media or email"
( )

This amounts to a high-tech barn-raising and it simply would not be possible to pull off in the iPhone environment.

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