This is one that we have been waiting on for a while. Netflix for Android officially made its debut yesterday for a select set of Android handsets. Up until now the only way you could get Netflix on your phone was to use some less than recommended methods. But alas, yesterday the wait was over and Android owners finally got a chance to see what all the fuss was about.
The first caveat to this is that Netflix for Android is not available to every Android device, in fact it is only available for 6. Currently the Netflix app is only available for the phones listed below:
- HTC Incredible with Android 2.2
- HTC Nexus One with Android 2.2, 2.3
- HTC Evo 4G with Android 2.2
- HTC G2 with Android 2.2
- Samsung Nexus S with Android 2.3
- Samsung Nexus S 4G with Android 2.3
While this definitely pisses some people off, according to the Netflix “The Market download will initially be available only on select phones that currently have the requisite playback support.” When you look at the list above though you can’t discern any kind of rationale as to what is the “requisite playback support” and why these phones meet the bill. The phones don’t all contain the same type of processors, they aren’t all made by the same manufacturer. There is currently no word on when it will be available for the newest wave of Android phones including the HTC Thunderbolt, Samsung Epic and others.
For my part, I just happened to luck up and the original Droid Incredible made the list. The app itself comes in at just over 20MB and will install to an SD card if you have space. When you first launch the application you have to log in of course but after that it just launches for you. Once it loads it will load just the way you last left it, like for me I was watching “Law & Order: SVU” and I was able to resume it from where I was last watching it. When it first launched the video was kind of choppy but after a few seconds it cleared right up. From there I could fast forward and rewind the video with almost no buffering. The app will run on 3G, 4G, or WiFi, though keep your data plan in mind if you decide to use anything other than WiFi.
So for the most part the Netflix for Android app works as expected and if you happen to be stuck somewhere boring with free WiFi, it’s definitely a nice tool to your arsenal. This would actually be a huge game changer if you didn’t have to turn your phone off while you were flying. If they ever came up with some kind of way to allow you to agree to disable the connection to your career network but still keep the WiFi enabled on your phone during flights this could be huge. Today, most people take their iPods on flights and then either buy or rent movies from iTunes, if you could use the Netflix app on your phone I think it would really damage sales via iTunes. Some people would still want the newest stuff, but lots of people could easily find something on instant to watch and keep them entertained during the average flight. Anyway, if you have one of the phones mentioned above then hit up the Android Market on your phone and pick it up.