We already know that it's just a matter of time before Netflix pops up on -fueled smartphones and tablets. Just last month, Netflix made its debut on Google's nascent Google TV. What about consumers snapping up Android wireless handsets? Will they get entertainment on the go, or be doomed to eventually fuse to their Cheetos-stained sofas?
Netflix announced over the weekend that it will be making its debut across several Android devices by early next year, allowing its subscribers on unlimited plans to stream from select Android handsets. Even though Netflix considers Android an "exciting technology" with healthy adoption metrics, the rental regent still feels bold enough to critique Google's platform. Will Google have the last laugh? This has never been a boring battle to watch, but it's now gotten even more interesting. Will it have little choice but to turn to a YouTube-branded streaming solution that will undercut Netflix
"The hurdle has been the lack of a generic and complete platform security and content protection mechanism available for Android," Greg Peters from Netflix's product development departments notes in the blog entry. In other words, the same inviting open-source platform that has drawn in handset manufacturers and developers is also making piracy-fearing movie studios skeptical about licensing their streams.
The end result is that Netflix has to go from device to device, leading to what it realizes will be a confusing, fragmented experience on Android, which will be separated into the streams and the stream-nots. Apple and Microsoft must be loving this. Uncertainty about Netflix availability may not be the determining factor in someone's smartphone decision, but it still casts Google unfairly as the second-class citizenry of smartphones. Will Google have the last laugh. Will it have little choice but to turn to a YouTube-branded streaming solution that will undercut Netflix? Will it finally crack open its coffers and buy Netflix, forcing studios to play along if they want digital-streaming revenue from the undisputed niche leader?
This has never been a boring battle to watch, but it's now gotten even more interesting.
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