XBMC 13, released a few months ago, is the first official release to support hardware video decoding on many ARM based Android devices. However, although both XBMC Android apks for ARM and x86 can be downloaded from xbmc.org, Team-XBMC have decided not to publish XBMC for Android on app stores such as Google Play, partially because video hardware decoding is not yet fully working on all popular Android SoC platforms and devices, but also because of the upcoming name change from XBMC to Kodi. Since the code is open source under GPLv2, anybody can build it, and somebody published XBMC on Android as a paid app, which would have been legal if they changed the name, but as they used XBMC trademark, it has been removed since then. Seeing this, Chris Browet (Koying), one of XBMC developer, decided to fork XBMC, apply some patches not yet approved in mainline XBMC, and publish it under the name SPMC (Semper Media Center / SemperPax media Center) in Google Play Store and Amazon AppStore for free.
The latest version is based on XBMC 13.2 with at least the following improvements:
- Add suspend on rooted devices
- Possible fix for recurrent startup crash
- Switch TV to 3D automatically on amlogic
- Allow mouse long left click to bring up context menu
SPMC on Amazon App currently can’t be installed on Fire TV, but this is checked on, and you can follow the relevant thread on XBMC forums. You can follow SPMC project on spmc.semperpax.com, including access to the source code.
If you’d rather have the official XBMC apk, or try both, since SPMC and XBMC have different signatures, but don’t want to follow or check releases manually, XBMC updater Android app will automatically download and install the latest apk from xbmc.org.
There has been a few other XBMC / Kodi news lately, including Kodi 14 for Google’s Android TV (ADT-1 devkit), and Kodi 14 Alpha 2 release that includes an update to FFMpeg 2.2.4 allows H.265 (HEVC) and VP9 software video playback, support for 4K videos on Amlogic S802 processor, and more.
Thanks to Harley for the tip.