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Time Warner Cable boosts mobile strategy with app for Android tablets

Time Warner Cable has introduced an application for Android tablets to address the growing number of customers who own one of these devices.

The free TWC TV app for Android tablets gives customers the ability to program their DVR, add favorite channels and use their Android tablet as a remote control. However, the Android app does not currently offer live television, a feature that is found on the iPad app.

?We are doing an app for Android tablets because our customers are buying these devices, and we want to be a part of their tablet experience,? said Greg Calvert, director of video product management at Time Warner Cable, New York.

?We?re very bullish on the tablet category as whole,? he said.

?These devices have the computing power and rich graphics capability to deliver highly compelling second screen experiences. These are the so-called companion device features like enhanced navigation, set-top box remote control and DVR management.

Strong consumer interest
The new Android app offers an Interactive Program Guide with seven days of program listings that include full programs descriptions.

The app can also be used as a remote control and enables users to remotely schedule or change upcoming DVR recordings as well as search TV listings by title or episode name.

The Time Warner Cable Android app is available to all customers with set-top boxes or DVRs running the Time Warner Cable Navigator interactive program guide. It can be downloaded from the Android Market.

One of the reasons for Time Warner Cable?s interest in developing apps for tablets is that they offer strong media consumption experiences.

?The same high value content we deliver to traditional set-top boxes looks fantastic on these little screens, and customers are indicating strong interest in engaging with our content in new ways on tablets,? Mr. Calvert said.

?On the Android platform, we started with the companion features and will add live TV early next year once Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) starts to roll out,? he said.

The TWCable TV for iPad app was launched in March, making Time Warner Cable one of the first cable operators to launch a live TV application on a tablet.

The app was launched with approximately 30 live TV channels and today delivers over 100 channels.

The iPad app was updated in July with features such as an interactive program guide and remote control capabilities.

Time Warner Cable will continue to look for ways to add value to its video product by adding functionality to its tablet apps that make it easier for customers to find interesting content.

?Our number one goal with tablets is to improve the video navigation experience,? Mr. Calvert said.

?With tablets and smartphones, we can personalize the navigation experience and bubble relevant choices to the top of the list,? he said. ?We?ve only scratched the surface so far by delivering parity with the set-top box.

?When customers see what we have planned, we think it will knock their socks off. They will begin to discover all kinds of fantastic content they didn?t even know they had, and we are committed to delivering that content to the device of their choice.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York