Netflix slowly churns onto Android

Posted by Mark Raby

For the first time, Android users can finally stream Netflix content on their mobile device. Well, some Android users...

The leading video streaming service has just released its official Android app, more than a year after it released the service for the iPhone and iPad, and several months after making an app available for Windows Phone 7.

However, of the dozens and dozens of Android phones and tablets on the market, only six are compatible with the new app. And none of them are tablets.

The HTC Incredible, Nexus One, Evo 4G, and G2, along with the Samsung Nexus S and Nexus S 4G can now stream the hundreds of movies and TV shows through Netflix's extensive digital library. And that's it. Only two manufacturers have phones that Netflix says "have the requisite playback support."

Interestingly enough, though, those six phones span all four of the major mobile carriers, so it is strictly a hardware issue and nothing to do with the mobile providers. Regardless, it's peculiar that some of the more advanced devices like the HTC Thunderbolt or the Motorola Atrix aren't on the list.

Those who are lucky enough to have one of the supported phones will find the Netflix app available now in the Android Market, and can instantly link their Netflix account to start streaming over 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi. They all require Android 2.2 or higher, which is what they should be as long as users have been responding to the over-the-air update requests.

So, this is definitely a step in the right direction. Netflix had previously seemed rather inflexible in its approach to Android, saying it was extremely cumbersome and difficult to develop for. Hopefully it's just a matter of time before other phones - and tablets - get the app as well.