Summary:

VLC’s developers are busy working on an Android implementation of the popular open source video player, which could be released as early as next month. Next up will be a tablet-specific version of VLC, which could run on devices like Motorola’s Xoom with Android 3.0.

vlc android icon

An Android version of VLC could be released as early as April, according to VLC developer Rémi Duraffort, who told German website Handy-Sparen.de that “most of the components are working but we must work to make them fit together.” Duraffort told the site last week that he expects a working demo or beta version to be available “in one or two months.”

The Android implementation of the popular open source video player has been in the work for months, and lead VLC developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf had told us in December that a release could be expected “in a matter of weeks.” Asked why the project is taking longer than expected, Duraffort now told Handy Sparen that it’s been a bit challenging to make some of the VLC’s core C++ code on Android, which is based on Java. Said Duraffort:

“Having to create an application in Java that will load a C library in order to run VLC code is part of the issues we have. Moreover, most API to manage graphics (OpenGL) or audio can only be accessed from Java which mean that we decode audio and video in C but then give the images and audio samples to Java to be able to render them.”

VLC running on a Nexus One.

Google Android’s NDK has made it easier to run native C code with the release of Android 2.3, which should improve things, according to Duraffort. However, don’t expect VLC developers to take the easy way out and just cater to a smaller subset of device owners with the most recent version of the mobile OS. “VLC for Android will work for every Android version since 1.5,” he said.

The Android VLC player application will also be compatible with Android 3.0 aka Honeycomb, the new version that’s specifically designed for tablets like the Motorola Xoom. The VLC team will work on a version optimized for tablets as soon as the regular Android app is released.

Pictures of VLC on Android courtesy of Rémi Duraffort.

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