rolling out service to a limited number of Android smartphones, Netflix has come out with an update today that adds video streaming functionality to 17 more Android devices, including some of the best selling on the market.More than two months after
Users cried foul when Netflix came out with support for only five phones in May, four of them from HTC. The new rollout adds the service to top-selling devices from Samsung and Motorola. That includes the entire line of Motorola Droid phones (original, X, X2, 2 and 3), as well as the Galaxy S series and other Samsung devices. If you have bought a popular Android phone in the last couple of years, Netflix will probably be able to work on your device. Finally.
This rollout brings most of the Android ecosystem (in the U.S. at least) up to par with the premium content offerings that had been the domain of iOS (and, for what it is worth, Windows Phone 7). One of the reasons that users have chosen iPhones and iPads instead of Android smartphones and tablets is the lack of certain "killer apps," Netflix being near the top of that list. It was a matter of time before the Android ecosystem started to catch up and now that most Android devices now have both Netflix and Hulu Plus, Apple cannot claim a distinct superiority in premium applications.
A quick test of the application using a Motorola Atrix streaming over HSPA+ (AT&T's version of "4G") features everything a user would expect from a Netflix application. Users can search, browse and access their instant queue. Video streams on the device in landscape mode and, depending on the hardware and speed of the data connection, does not lag or endlessly buffer (the dual-core processor and high-speed data connection of the Atrix certainly helps).
Endgadget also reported today that streaming will be coming to Android Honeycomb tablets, starting with the LG Revolution. Like Android smartphones, it will only be a matter of time before Netflix catches up on the Digital Rights Management (DRM) and hardware requirements across the landscape of Android tablets. The span between updates (two months is a significant amount of time between rollouts) once again highlights the fragmentation problem of the Android ecosystem. Yet, as Google asserts more control over Android, the software problems should dissipate.