Netflix Who? Amazon Unbox Videos May Play on Android


Netflix on Android was big news yesterday, but I wouldn’t count Amazon out of the portable video market just yet. Pocketables, a mobile enthusiast website, reports that Amazon Unbox videos play back on the HTC Thunderbolt, without much effort on a user’s part. The simple process entails nothing more than a download of the media file, connecting the smartphone to a computer and activating the device’s Sync mode.

I’m not able to confirm the process, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did work — at least on HTC devices. Amazon has long supported mobile device playback for its Unbox service, although only for certain devices: most prominent were those compatible with Microsoft’s Plays For Sure initiative. A recent check of Amazon Unbox still shows an option to download a portable version of any media file, as well. The standard Unbox files are .wmv, while portable file format has a .amzn extension, so I suspect that the phone is converting it to a format compatible with Android; perhaps via HTC’s Sync software.

Regardless of what magic goes on behind the scenes for Amazon Unbox playback on Android devices, video is the only media Amazon doesn’t yet offer for Android. And if the company does plan to out a tablet device as expected, offering a video service could add appeal, although it will have to compete with Google’s recently introduced Movies service for smartphones and tablets.

Still, Amazon could offer the complete media package for Amazon: a Cloud Storage service, music store with streaming support, Kindle e-books, an app store with free software daily, and a video store for rentals and purchases. With all of these services tied to a single Amazon account, the simplicity and breadth of services would rival that of Apple’s iTunes store, something that Google has failed to deliver yet.

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