Android doesn’t offer a complete solution, especially when it comes to video content. Sony is trying to address the problem with the release of the new Crackle video app, which actually points to the need for a more comprehensive solution, something Google is hopefully working on.
Crackle offers streaming movies and TV shows from Columbia Pictures, Tri-Star, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics as well as TV shows and original content, all for $4.99 a month. If you forgo a subscription fee, you can see condensed versions of TV shows.
Mind you, this isn’t exactly current stuff. Sony is touting La Femme Nikita, Taxi Driver and Bram Stoker’s Dracula as some of the available movies. TV shows include Charlie’s Angels and Married with Children.
This lack of current content and limitation to a single company’s properties, underscore the need for a better answer for paid video on Android devices. There’s an Amazon MP3 app for music downloads, as well streaming radio stations like Pandora and Slacker. Google is also reportedly working on its own music store that might work with rumored PayPal integration in Android Market.
When it comes to video, it’s more of a hodge podge. There’s a Blockbuster app, but it’s only available on the Droid X. There’s Samsung’s MediaHub, but it’s only available on Samsung devices. There’s YouTube, which offers some movies, but the collection is relatively small. The carriers also have their own services like V Cast from Verizon and Sprint TV. But again, it’s not a universal story.
Netflix is available on iOS devices and there are rumors that it will come eventually to Android. That is, however, a subscription service. Another subscription service, Hulu Plus, has also launched on the iPhone and iPad, but there’s no word on when it will come to Android devices.
It would make sense for Blockbuster or Amazon to expand and begin offering video downloads and streaming across the Android ecosystem. They have the assets in place; they just haven’t done it.
Overall, this seems like a big missed opportunity and points out some of the shortcomings of Android. With all these large-screen devices, a video solution would seem like a no-brainer. It hasn’t seemed to hurt sales of Android devices, but if the platform wants to fully compete with iOS, it’s about time it got a better video story together.
Related research from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):