Netflix Finds Froyo and Gingerbread more Palatable

by Matt Klassen on September 14, 2011

Mobile cinephiles the world over can rejoice, Netflix now works on most Android devices. It’s been no secret that Netflix has struggled with Android fragmentation, unable to get its streaming video service compatible with the various iterations of Google’s Android OS, but it seems like those days are over…for most Android devices anyways.

The latest version of the Netflix app—v. 1.4—found its way into the Android marketplace last week, and it looks like it can now stomach the sweetness that its Froyo and Gingerbread—Android 2.2 and 2.3 respectively.

While this update covers the majority of Android users, should you be one of the unlucky few to still be running Android 2.1 or even one of the few running Honeycomb (v. 3.0) on an Android tablet, there will be no Netflix for you.

For those avid mobile movie watchers, the struggles of Android/Netflix compatibility are well known. When the Netflix app first debuted on the Android marketplace in May it was functional on only five Android devices, as the Netflix development team struggled to cope with the longstanding Android fragmentation that forced them to “qualify” one device at a time.

Each subsequent version of the Netflix app was able to include compatibility for an increased number of device, but its only with this version, however, that it looks like Netflix has finally overcome those longstanding Android issues, meaning that Froyo and Gingerbread are now palatable for the streaming video service…or maybe vice versa.

The app itself remains free on the Android marketplace, but of course if you want to actually start streaming all that quality cinematic content to your relatively tiny smartphone screen, it still comes with the mandatory $7.99 subscription fee.

While I have no interest in actually using the app (since I have no interest in watching anything on my smartphone), initial reports indicate that the app works flawlessly, seamlessly syncing itself with your home Netflix account, affording you the opportunity to continue watching a show you may have started earlier on your television.

Truth be told, though, I’m still not sure how popular streaming video services for smartphones actually are. Sure mobile carriers have been trying to sell us on the benefits of HD video for our smartphone for a few years now, but I have to see any hard numbers that indicate that users are actually using their devices to watch videos on a consistent and widespread basis. 

That said, congratulations are in order to the estimated 82 percent of Android users that now can watch streaming video on a 4-inch screen, soon you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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