VLC is a popular open source audio and video player for Linux, Windows, and Mac computers. There’s also a version for Android in the works, and earlier this month the developers launched a private beta. But if you didn’t get in on the beta, you can still test out an early alpha build of VLC.

The folks at VideoLan have offered instructions for compiling the app from source for a while, but one developer has been kind enough to do the heavy lifting so that you can just download and install an APK file directly on your phone or tablet. There are two different builds available (NEON and NONEON) as well as instructions for figuring out which version you want.

While VLC for Android is still clearly a work in progress, the app looks pretty good and does an excellent job with video playback. That alone isn’t all that exciting, as there are more than a dozen excellent video players available for Android. But VLC is also a music player, which means it may eventually be the only multimedia app you’ll need on your phone or tablet.

The music features seem a little limited at the moment. I had the app scan my music directory… and nothing happened. I forced the app to close and reloaded it, and saw that the song list was suddenly populated. But while the music UI shows tabs for songs, artists, albums, genres, and playlists, VLC only showed my music in the Songs tab.

The music player window offers play/pause, forward, and previous buttons as well as shuffle and repeat buttons. But the app failed to display album art in my test.

VLC is shaping up to be a great little media player for Android. But it’s not quite ready to replace MoboPlayer, Songbird, or other media apps for Android just yet.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...