Netflix on Android, a little bit more free

A quick review

In my previous post, Netflix Annulled, I had to correct an even earlier post in which I explained why Netflix would not come to previously released handsets. At the time of the Netflix Annulled post, Netflix had released the app for 5 handsets (both Nexus phones, HTC Evo, HTC Incredible, and HTC T-Mobile G2).

I reasoned these phones were targeted because of their popularity, and that Netflix wanted to start on the handsets with good sales volume. Although I also questioned then, why they chose to ignore the original Motorola Droid.

In fact the official Netflix app had a “check” built-in to the software so that on each launch it would check which phone it’s running on and would fail on any officially unsupported phone. Of course many found a way around this check and were installing Netflix on phones that were not officially supported. This made me question further, why is Netflix trying to restrict the use of this app?

3 Phones Added

I should quickly mention, three more phones have been added to the official support list. The Motorola Droid, which lends support to the idea that Netflix is targeting big sales handsets. The LG Revolution, which makes perfect sense not because it is a high sales volume handset but because this is the phone Netflix was tested on during development, apparently. The last handset is a head scratcher: the Casio G’zOne Commando C771. I’ll get back to this Casio thing later.

netflix-supported-update1

So why not every handset? The original Droid is fairly old, if it can run the app, surely many of the phones that came out after can too?

I understand Jonathan’s argument, perhaps they want to ensure that every app user have a pleasant experience, and to do this they need to restrict it to phones they have actually tested. I can’t help but say, though, how very Apple of them.

Couldn’t they just as easily released the app, listed the phones that they officially support, and left the app installable on every Android device, which would imply, we’re free to install the app on whatever Android device we have but if our device is not on the list your experience may not be optimal?

Check Out

Actually they’ve done just that! Here’s a screenshot from the Android Market Netflix app page, under the “What’s new?,” with this update to add the three handsets I mentioned above, they’ve actually removed the check.

netflix-removed-check

What does this mean? It means people are able to run the app on a variety of Android devices, even the Nook Color!

This is great news for Netflix on Android. While this does not guarantee the app will play on your device, you now at least have the option to an attempt!

Rooted? No problem! (learn from this Google)

Also, all those users who installed a different, unofficial ROM, like CyanogenMod, have the ability to run the app as well. So this is actually better than what Google did with their movie services, where they’ve only allowed Google Movie rentals on official ROMs. I understand Google needed to please the content “creators” (that is, movie studios), but it really irks many fans of Android and I really hope Google can learn from Netflix.

What up with Casio on the list?

This is a really interesting phone. I’m going to lead with this picture that’s sourced from Engadget’s review, to which I’ve already linked to in the previous sentence (and the picture will take you there as well).

I believe the phone’s best selling point, its uniqueness, is its “Ruggedized” nature. Isn’t choice wonderful?

To quote from the Verizon website (may require your zip code),

Rugged– With MIL–STD–810G certification, the Commando meets military standards for water, shock, and dust resistance, making it perfect for any situation that life can throw at it –from the boardroom to the beach.

This is certified stronger than the Motorola DEFY. The Casio has SSL encryption, its creators (NEC, Casio, and Hitachi) have endowed it with

G’zGEAR applications like the Earth Compass, Walking Counter, Adventure Training, Thermometer, and Tide Calculator can help you to get in touch with the outdoors and fully embrace the active, adventure driven lifestyle.

It’s strange to think a phone designed for outdoor, rugged life, would support Netflix. Perhaps, though, with the U.S. Military interested in Android, even thinking of creating its own Marketplace, the soldiers serving in the army may be interested in an Android phone that can handle much of the severe environmental conditions they must endure, keeping them connected, and still provide them with entertainment from Android? That would be nice.

I really don’t know why Netflix went with this phone, but I like the idea of military personnel being able to kick back to a movie in their off time.

The Casio is expected to get 2.3.x (Gingerbread), though we’ll see when that happens.

Your Help!

I would love it if anyone who reads this blog, or comes across it, and has tried to run Netflix on their Android could let me know whether it worked or not! Please include your phone model, and what version of Android you’re running, whether you’re rooted or not, and if you’re using a custom ROM, please be as specific as possible. Thanks!

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