Android fragmentation hinders Netflix video app rollout
Close to a year after introducing a streaming video application optimized for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, movie rental and video service provider Netflix is finally expanding the service to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) rival Android operating system. Offered free in conjunction with premium Netflix membership ($7.99 per month), the application touts unlimited on-the-go access to feature films and television episodes, search tools and queue management options. But there's a catch: At least for now, support for the Netflix app is limited to just five Android smartphones--HTC's Droid Incredible, Nexus One, Evo 4G and G2, and Samsung's Nexus S.
The Netflix for Android app is free but does require a paid Netflix membership.
A now-deleted post on the Netflix Blog blamed the limited rollout on Android fragmentation: "One of these challenges is the lack of standard streaming playback features that the Netflix application can use to gain broad penetration across all available Android phones," Netflix product team member Roma De wrote. "In the absence of standardization, we have to test each individual handset and launch only on those that can support playback."
Earlier this week at its annual I/O developer conference, Google said the fourth quarter 2011 release of its Android "Ice Cream Sandwich" update will deliver the tablet-optimized innovations introduced in the Android 3.0 ‘Honeycomb' overhaul to all devices running the OS in an effort to reduce platform fragmentation. "We want one OS that runs everywhere," Android engineer Mike Claren said. "We're going to take all the good stuff in Honeycomb and make it available everywhere."
Google I/O 2011 also heralded the introduction of Google's own Movies streaming video app, enabling Android device users to instantly stream movies to smartphones and tablets. Available now via the Android Market website and Motorola Mobility's (NYSE:MMI) Xoom tablet, with a smartphone update for devices running Android 2.2 and up to follow over the coming weeks, Movies offers thousands of movies for rent, with prices beginning at $1.99--consumers enjoy a 30-day rental period once a film is downloaded, although once the viewing session begins, the window of availability decreases to 24 hours. In addition to on-demand streaming, the Movies service includes Pins, a tool enabling users to automatically download a rental in the background of their mobile device for subsequent offline access.
- read this CNet article
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