Ustream is celebrating reaching 2.5 million downloads of its Android app today with the release of a major new version, Ustream 2.0. It’s been a long time coming for Ustream to hit this milestone – the original Android app was launched back in 2009, and the Android tablet version arrived just last year.
With the update, the company is finally providing a way for users to disable the banner ads within the app – news whose timing is critical, given the recent reports about Android ads and the related battery drains.
Explains Ustream of its in-app ads: “to maintain its development, the app is supported by unobtrusive banner ads appearing at the bottom of some screens.”
How “unobtrusive” those ads may be, however, is certainly subjective.
And with the report (PDF) that ads in these so-called “free” Android apps drain the phone’s battery at incredible rates – some even use twice the power they actually need to operate – any ad-disabling option will be a welcome addition for regular users.
Starting today, Ustream users can choose to purchase a premium membership, available to buy both in the app and on Ustream’s website, in order to have access to an entirely ad-free version.
While that’s the biggest news with Ustream 2.0, the app has also received a makeover as well as a new “quick broadcast” widget, as a part of the overhaul.
The updated user interface now offers a dark theme, and supports device rotation to landscape mode, swiping-based navigation, an improved “actionbar” (the screen header) functionality and other minor improvements.
Also new is a “Quick Broadcast” widget which Android users can place directly on their homescreen. When you see something you want to record, just tap the widget to immediately begin live streaming.
Although of lesser importance to stateside users, but of strategic importance to the company itself, version 2.0 of the Android app now supports the Korean language too, in addition to English and Japanese. This comes on the heels of last week’s announcement of Ustream’s launch in Korea. The company had partnered last fall with KT Corporation, a leading telecommunications provider in South Korea, while simultaneously raising an additional $10 million funding round from Japanese telecom provider Softbank. Korea is the second non-English platform for the company, following Ustream Asia, which launched in January 2010.
The updated version of Ustream for Android will roll out to the
Android Market Google Play store today. For those who already have the app installed, just check for updates.