Instead of adding in support for specific Android phones every few weeks, Netflix has now opened up its app to everyone with Android 2.2 or 2.3. That means anyone who goes out and buys a new Android phone today will be able to stream Netflix movies and TV shows without worrying about whether or not that specific handset is supported.
The only people who still can't access Netflix are those with existing phones running a lower version of Android, which only encompasses those who have an outdated phone anyway. The major update now gives Netflix access to about 80% of all Android devices.
One word of caution, though, is that devices running Android 3.0, the specialized tablet version of Android, are not included in the sweeping update. They only account for around 1% of all Android devices, but products like the Xoom, Galaxy Tab, and Thrive are still on a trial basis for Netflix.
For many Android users, Netflix's slow rollout seemed frustrating. The online video giant originally released an Android app some months ago, but most users who downloaded it couldn't do anything with it. Slowly, Netflix began adding support on a phone-by-phone basis, adding random handsets without any real rhyme or reason. Some blogs suggested the company was only testing it with the Android phones that its employees happened to have on hand.
The same phenomenon is happening with Hulu Plus right now, with only scattered devices supported for that app. It all stems from concerns over video playback compatibility as well as the digital rights management (DRM) that needs to be incorporated.
Clearly, fragmentation continues to be a problem with Android.