Brightcove retreats from HTML5, pushes refreshed SDKs for native Android, iOS apps

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SANTA CLARA, Calif.--Streaming video platform provider Brightcove said it has shuttered its "App Cloud" mobile application development product and is instead pushing refreshed SDKs for Android and iOS. Brightcove's Albert Lai explained that the company is refocusing on native apps, rather than HTML5 solutions, due to customer demand.

"In most cases you really do need a native experience," he said. "The feedback we've gotten is that customers want to enhance that (mobile) experience from a native perspective."

Brightcove began selling its App Cloud service in 2011. The company advertised the product as a way for developers to quickly build iOS and Android applications using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. Thus, developers could build one version of their application in HTML5 and then wrap it in native Android or iOS code, thereby allowing developers to maintain one version of their app but distribute it through both Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android marketplace.

Lai, innovation architect in Brightcove's CTO office, said that "in some cases, mobile is becoming the primary focus" for Brightcove's customers. Therefore, he said, the company found it needed to invest more heavily in native apps, which could provide a better and richer user experience. For example, he said native apps allow Brightcove customers to properly install digital rights management policies, improve the delivery of ads and generally better control the user experience.

"Mobile Web can only do so much," he said. Native SDKs provide "a significant improvement for what we can offer our customers."

In comments here at the OTTCON show, Lai said Brightcove's new iOS and Android SDKs support  Adobe SiteCatalyst, Adobe Pass, Akamai Media Analytics, comScore Media Metrix, FreeWheel, Google DoubleClick for Publishers, Nielsen VideoCensus and Google Widevine. The company said the SDKs are available free of charge to Brightcove Pro and Enterprise edition Brightcove Video Cloud customers, and the company plans to make the SDKs available as stand-alone commercial products for customers who manage their own online video platform or use other third-party solutions.

Lai also noted that Brightcove will continue to invest in HTML5 technology. The company said it will support its existing App Cloud customers through June 2014.

Interestingly, Lai also said that he believes developer interest in Android will overtake interest in iOS sometime this year. Lai said the Brightcove's customers--which include Fox, New York Times, Showtime and others--are keen to use the company's technology to deliver video to smartphones, but have tended to target iOS first since there are fewer devices to account for.

"Many of our publishers have been hesitant to jump on Android because of the fragmentation," he said, explaining that Brightcove customers must support not only the various versions of Android software but also the wide range of phone models built by Android hardware manufacturers. The fragmentation in Android makes it difficult for developers to test all the possible iterations of their Android apps.

Nonetheless, Lai said that content providers are increasingly targeting Android due to the platform's dominant share of the global market (Gartner found that Android's market share has climbed from 51.3 percent market share in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 69.7 percent in the fourth quarter of last year) and because of the increased importance they are placing on the mobile channel.

For more:
- see this Brightcove release

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