Time Warner Cable will bring streaming television to Android devices running the most recent version of Google's mobile operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), before the end of May, the company announced on Thursday.
Time Warner Cable in December released a TWC TV app for Android phones and tablets, though it did not include live TV. At the time, the cable provider promised live TV access with the expanded rollout of Android 4.0 ICS.
"Well, that time is here," Jeff Simmermon, director of digital communication for Time Warner Cable, wrote in a blog post Thursday. "In a few weeks — definitely by Memorial Day — Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich will be able to stream our live video product in the home."
But, there's just one problem — only 3 percent of Android-based devices are now running ICS. Android 4.0 ICS made its debut in the U.S. on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for Verizon in mid-December. Since then, only a handful of devices have debuted with the updated OS, while handset manufacturers have been hustling to upgrade existing smartphones to ICS.
ICS is the only version of the Android OS that provides the "security and stability necessary to distribute video over our private network," Simmermon wrote. In contrast, adding live video to its iOS app is much easier, since it only involves one operating system made by one company that also manufactures its own devices, he said.
"Developing our video product for Android is not unlike tweezing one's eyebrows while using a disco ball for a mirror," Simmermon wrote. "We're going to get there, but it's going to happen one facet at a time."
Meanwhile, TWC previously launched a live TV iPad app in March 2011. Its release, however, prompted concern from content holders, who argued that Time Warner wasn't licensed to stream their content. Time Warner argued that the iPad app was simply like having another TV in the house and, since the content did not stream over the Internet, it was not a violation of the companies' content deals. Viacom however, ended up taking Time Warner Cable to court over the issue, though that case was resolved in August.