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Android to get open-source XBMC media player

Open-source media player XBMC is coming to Android.

In a blog post, XBMC said its solution is "the real deal," and can be launched on a set-top box, tablet, phone, or any other Android-based device.

XBMC - once known as Xbox Media Center - has become an open-source media centre for multiple operating systems; it even runs on the original Apple TV box.

XBMC was created in 2003 and currently runs on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. The team is now branching out to Android. "As Android-based set-top-boxes are becoming more and more ubiquitous, it couldn't be a better time" the developers wrote, though they acknowledged that their solution is "not quite ready for primetime."

"We will begin releasing apks for interested beta testers in the coming weeks. But for those who are up to the task, as you would expect from XBMC, the source code is available," the blog post said.

XBMC for Android will not be available via Google Play "until we are satisfied that users with all kinds of devices get the same great XBMC experience," according to the developers.

They asked supporters to patrol Google Play and report any fake XBMC apps in the Android marketplace.

What should you expect from XBMC for Android? The team said the feature set will be the same as it is on the desktop.

Primary development was done on a Pivos XIOS DS set-top-box, and Pivos is now an official sponsor. XBMC worked with Pivos vendors to develop "buttery-smooth hardware-accelerated playback on the XIOS DS."

"It remains to be seen if such hardware-specific features will make it into XBMC mainline or exist as patches for vendors to integrate," XBMC said.

XBMC is also looking to the Android community to develop a hardware decode. "We are confident that an OpenMax-based player (similar to the one used for the Raspberry Pi) will spring up very quickly. That said, software playback of most media plays quite well already."

XBMC also warned that the experience on smaller screens could be "clunky," but "with the community's help, we're sure to have a more refined version available for inclusion by the time we release a stable version."

Given the wide variety of Android versions on the market, XBMC has not yet decided the minimum requirements for the Android app.

As noted by, XBMC only supports ARM processors at this point, so getting this to work on Google TV will be a bit of a challenge.