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Summary:

There’s both good and bad news for Netflix subscribers on Android phones. The good news? A Netflix Android app has been leaked onto the Internet. The bad news? While you can browse, search and look at titles in your instant queue, you can’t actually stream anything.

netflix-on-iphone

Android mobile phone users that have anxiously awaited the arrival of a Netflix app for their devices need wait no longer: A leaked version of the upcoming app has found its way onto the Internet and can be installed on devices with Android version 2.2 or later. The only problem is, while users will be able to install the app, search titles and view films and TV shows in their instant queue, they won’t be able to actually stream video over the app.

According to Droid Life, the Netflix APK (Android package) was pulled from an LG Revolution system dump and has found its way onto multiple mirrors across Android fan and news sites. Since then, Android users who have installed the app report most Netflix functionality is there, including the ability to brose different genres, search for individual titles or stars and even view your instant queue. But the thing doesn’t stream — which, of course, is the main appeal of any mobile video app.

Android users have been anxiously waiting for a mobile app from Netflix that will give them all the same functionality iOS users currently enjoy. A Netflix app was available at launch for the iPad, and an iPhone version was released a little later. But Android users have had to wait, while Netflix has worked to develop an app that works across multiple mobile devices.

The two main issues Netflix has faced in creating an app for Android are device fragmentation and the lack of a common DRM standard for the mobile OS. While a majority of Android devices — about 63 percent — now run Android 2.2 or higher, devices from different manufacturers and different carriers frequently add features and code that require tweaking to ensure apps work across multiple phones and tablets, even if they’re running the same version of the OS.

More importantly, as Greg Peters from Netflix product development explained in a blog post last November, Android lacks a common security mechanism across devices. Unlike iOS devices, which have a standardized codebase and DRM built-in, Netflix needs to work with individual device manufacturers to ensure the content it streams is protected. So even when Netflix officially launches its Android app to the broader marketplace, it’s unlikely to work with all Android devices, but will only be usable on a handful of phones and tablets Netflix had targeted for release.

  1. I regulaly shed tears on my Retina display playing Netflix, Hulu+, and iTunes — “boo hoo, I don’t have widgets! Boo hoo, I have to buy apps from a walled garden… Boo hoo, i don’t have a big ugly clock on my home screen” Doesn’t Apple get that consumers want poor quality apps, malware, and short battery life? If only Steve Jobs had a Stanford degree! Then, maybe Apple will get what customers want. Until then, I’ll just have to weep over my Retina display and waste time making movies on my phone, when I could be using Android’s AWESOME WIDGETS!!! Oh, my Mac has widgets, but they work so much better on a small screen. Like I learned in Stanford CS classes — “the smaller the screen, the bigger the clock needs to be. Gee, Google just gets it!!!

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  2. If you Google “OS market share” you will find that droid has 1/4 of the actual users that iOS does. Methinks that Larry and Sergey must have bought a bunch of smart phones. Perhaps QAT departments have had to buy 20 different droid phones to test 1 app? In either event — the proof is in the pudding. iOS is the third most used OS, next to Windows and Mac OS X. As of today, droid has about 1/4 of the users as iOS. Given the fragmentation of droid, it’s no wonder why app developers go with iOS and then maybe come out with an inferior droid app — it’s a token gesture. People touting the huge sales of droid phones overshadowing iPhones should really look at current market share of OS’s. iOS is a HUGE SUCCESS and Android is still struggling to get off the ground. Oh well, back to enjoying this Netflix documentary on death metal on my iPhone 4 with the awesome Retina display! I wonder how long droid users are going to wait for apps… It’s like waiting for Godot…

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  3. C B, of the apps you listed, Netflix, Hulu+, and iTunes, Netflix is the only thing I’d be interested in. Hulu+ is way overpriced, and having used iTunes extensively, I’d say it’s definitely one thing I didn’t like about my iPod Touch.

    Why on Earth would I want to make movies? That’s an honest question. I know a lot of iOS users. I don’t know any who use their phones to make movies.

    I’m not sure where you’re getting your facts about Android marketshare. I do know that they’re wrong, though. And not just wrong, you are way off. You’re so off, in fact, that I had to double check to make sure your comment wasn’t two years old.

    You should really make sure what you have to say is true before posting it. Otherwise, you make yourself look bad.

    I’m assuming you’ve never actually used widgets. That or you’re just grasping at anything you can to try to make a point.

    The one thing I will “agree” with you about is the retina display. The iPhone 4′s retina display is absolutely beautiful. It’s crisp, colorful, and can not be beat, even by Samsung’s Super AMOLED+ screens (though they’re a pretty close second).

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    1. You need to look at operating system market share statistics and not phone sales. Stop regurgitating the media’s incompetance with interpretin data — just go ahead and Google “operating system market share” and maybe have a Kleenex ready to mop up you tears when you see the truth! Don’t tell me I am making this up. You just drank the media’s Koolade. iOS has 4 times as many users as Andoid — several months after numbskulls in the press declared Android hegemony. The current OS market share statistics show iOS is dominating, by far. Why do you think iOS has so many more apps? Because product managers at software companies look at Webtrends and find that they have 4 times as many iOS users as Android. You drank the media’s Koolade about phone sales… But the phone sales have not increased the number of Android users. Did Larry and Sergey buy a bunch of phones? Did QAT departments buy 20 Droid devices to do their testing? Did people buy new Droid phones to replace old ones that can’t do much? Keep in mind — even with Droid’s weak market share, only 60% of users have 2.2, which is the bare necessity for most Droid apps. Add to that the data that Droid users are more frugal and less wiing to buy apps. No wonder everyone develops for the iPhone and people wait and wait for a Droid version, which may never come or has incomplete functionality.

      As for making videos on a phone, get with the times… Today’s narcissistic youth want to make a cool video at the beer and prescription drug orgy, and post it to Facebook. The iPhone can record AND edit the video very well!

      As for the Retina display — the OS needs to support such resolutions. It has to upscale graphics, smooth fonts, and control 4 times as many pixels. Droid doesn’t do that.

      Look — I have worked in the software industry for 15 years. I know why iPhone is preferred over Droid — do you want to sell an app to a lot of users or a few users. No product manager worth his/her salt would develop a Droid product before Android… Most will never do Droid. Sorry, but Droid Doesn’t!!!

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    2. Hey, I have used widgets on my Mac before Android was even a gleam in Sergey’s eye. If Apple implements it like a dashboard, that’s great. It’s so funny how Droid users make a big deal out of widgets. Yes, with your slower UI, it may help (and think of how slow it will be if they attempt to support Retina display resolutions!!!) But if your home screen is full if widgets, you need to swipe your way to apps. I guess that’s not a problem for Droid users — they have very few useful apps. If you just moved to the U.S. from India, there are lots of Telugu radio apps for Droid… But no Netflix, no Hulu+, no PBS, no iTunes… I hope you like Karnatic music!

      Yeah. Enjoy those widgets. They’ve been on my Mac for years and they make more sense on a device with a full sized screen. It’s just a bad attempt to one-up Apple with crap that consumers don’t care about. Does Google even do market research, or are their features driven by open source geeks? As a company trying to make a consumer product, they are not very good at it!

      People want to enjoy, create, and share content. Widgets may be neat-o for you, but consumers don’t care. They want content channels, apps, and a rich user experience that comes from platform synergies… If you own a Mac or PC, the iPhone fits in much better…

      Where is the desktop software for backing up Droid devices and restoring your phone if it fails? I’d be much more concerned about it if I had some chintzy Droid phone… With an iPhone, I am not worried about device meltdowns…

      Google just made an OS, not a holistic product with platform synergies. Even the OS has to be retooled for each device, and device manufacturers for Droid often do not offer upgrades for phones that are even only one year old…

      Google also got busted for stealing 2.5MB of code from the GNU standard libraries. Now they have to re-write it, which is no small task…

      Enjoy your widgets. Been there, done that! I am a Mac user, after all! Maybe you can find an OS market share widget which will shed some light on why Droid is a stepchild OS that most developers don’t really care about.

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    3. As for movies… Apple has iMovie for the iPhone… Check out the keynote speech video on Apple’s site where they do a demo. The guy in charge of Final Cut Pro headed up development of this app. Totally sick… Droid has a lot of catching up to do, and given the piss poor leadership at Google, I just don’t see it happen.

      Also, if your “droid domination” data comes from the mediashare study, you need to read it again. They talk about ads, and most ads on iPhone apps are not done through mediashare… Even then, they acknowledge that iOS is much bigger than Droid.

      Why do you think product managers prefer iOS? It’s all about market share and profits. There are more iOS users. Phone sales and OS market share are two different things… Devices in land fills do not buy apps — users do.

      Have fun looking at your weather widget, playing with your flashlight widget, using you buggy Flash strap-on (it’s not worthy of the title “plugin”) and toggling Bluetooth with your widget so the crap battery in your Droid phone doesn’t die after 4 hours of minimal use…

      All you Droid types make such a big deal out of widgets because you assume Apple doesn’t know what they are… No. Just like Coverflow, Google ripped off a few features from OS X and cheap Win/Droid users think that Google invented it. Apple had widgets in OS X years ago!!! It’s just that they develop products based on market research, not open source geekery. The proof’s in the puddin’. More people are using iOS!!!

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    4. Actually, your facts are several months old. The Gartner data did show sales of Droid phones that outsold iPhones. Now, several months later, current OS market share stats show iOS as the 3rd most popular OS in the world, next to Windows and Mac OS X. iPad is part of it, but that counts… One can make apps that run on both the iPhone and iPad.

      Let’s face it — Sergey and Larry have a warehouse full of unopened Droid phones…. They are rich (and evil) a d bought a few million Droid phones to make them look like contenders…

      No — I kid. People bought them to replace their existing droid phones. Droid did have a small increase in OS market share, but iOS had a bigger one.

      That said, there is a big attempt by some media outlets (CBS is one of them) to make Droid look like a contender and even a hegemon. Why? They don’t want Apple to be the supreme content platform… Sorry, but iTunes is f’in brilliant in that one can download HD movies and shows instead of streaming… Even my Comcast cable box has buggy on demand. CBS should have invested in technology and made good decisions. This business of lying about Droid domination to reign in Apple is weak!

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      1. Jeez get over it..

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  4. My god does this guy like to hear himself talk… nobody say “widget”, jesus… it might start him up again.

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  5. Lengthy commentary and statement of facts and statistics is a wonderful thing! One thing you simply must realize, though, is that statistical data on OS market share is at best corrupted. One major factor to support that statement is that many school districts in the united states are and will be issuing ipads to students to be used as textbooks instead of having to cart around backpacks that weigh 50 pounds day in and day out. That fact alone does and will contribute to a very large number of iOS users. Another contributing factor is difference in product ranges between iOS and Android. So looking at statistical data on consumer sales of phones running the two operating systems is a much more reliable means of determining which OS is more widely accepted

    To the statement of devs making apps for iOS due to all of the things that you mentioned. One could easily say the exact same thing for Blackberry, but look how that turned out. What it really all boils down to with the devs is the whole open source issue. With just anybody and everybody coming up with free (and more often than not, useless) apps, the quality, paid apps get lost in the crowd. Let’s face it. Why would you want to buy an app when you can get an almost identical one, minus a feature or two, absolutely free? It’s not that Android users do not want to pay, but the fact that in most cases they do not have to.

    The iPhone is, has been, and will surely continue to be one of the leaders in the mobile phone race. Great features and cutting edge technological offerings are the things that placed it where it is today. On the other hand, name me one thing that that places it on a pedestal above the current Droid line, or the additions to the Droid line that are soon to be released other than the Retina display (in the case of the current Droid line). Its easy to trash the lesser Android phones. Its even easier to trash the original iPhone.

    I do believe, however that the article is about the Netflix app and its compatibility with Android phones, not Android OS. That being said. Most Android phones that are not capable of running Android 2.2 are also incapable of processing enough data fast enough to stream an entire movie without inciting major frustration upon the user. Also, most phones incapable of running 2.2 do not have a display fit for viewing an entire movie.

    The Netflix app developers need to take into consideration that most likely the vast majority of Android Netflix users will be using high-end Android devices. If the ones using lesser devices want the Netflix app they should get with the times and upgrade.

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