When touchscreen smartphones began playing a bigger role in video-watching activities, VideoLAN had to start embracing the mobile world as well and port its apps to the popular mobile platforms. Even though there were already good alternatives to VLC, such as the free (but ad-based) MX Player, VLC tends to have better codec and format support than most players out there, offering MKV, MP4, AVI, Ogg, MOV, FLAC ,TS, M2TS and AAC. It's also open source and free.
Today, we got the news that VLC 1.0 has finally been released as stable, losing the beta tag. VLC will continue to keep a beta branch for the braver users who want to get all the latest updates first and help the group behind the open source organization, VideoLAN, to discover and fix the bugs in the new versions.
Despite being an open source app, VLC was first launched for iOS rather than Android (the open source OS out of the two), presumably because it was easier to port most of the source code from the desktop version. The iOS mobile operating system was also more popular than Android at the time, so the group may have simply tried to answer to the platform that had the biggest demand.
Unfortunately for VideoLAN and the iOS users waiting for the app, Apple rejected VLC from the iTunes App Store. Apparently, there was a conflict between VLC's GPL open source license, which is incompatible with any sort of DRM-like restrictions, and Apple's mandatory DRM for all iOS apps.
After the rejection, VideoLAN switched its focus to the Android platform and has been in the process of porting and optimizing its application to all Android devices for the past couple of years.
From the changelog in the Play Store is the following statement:
"This release fixes ARMv8 processors, Android 5.0 crashes and minor improvements. The 0.9.x series is major release with hardware decoding and a new interface available in dark or white colors. It integrates DVD iso and menu support, an equalizer, playlist management, Widi [sic] screens support and updated SD cards detection. Hardware acceleration is now enabled by default on 4.3+ and has better subtitles support. Software decoding has been accelerated too."
VLC 1.0 for Android can be downloaded from the Play Store now.