The Xbox 360 has it. Sony's (NYSE: SNE ) PS3 and Nintendo's (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) Wii have it. The iPhone has it and Windows 7 had it before it launched: Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) . Android users are patiently waiting to get Netflix support on their devices as well -- and some may wait forever. Netflix said that some Androids will get access and some won't. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) , are you listening?
Since smartphones have turned into entertainment devices, a lack of Netflix support could be a major problem. Just in case you wondered why Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPhone is supported, why the iPad is supported, and why lots of TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles, and even the just released Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) is supported, but your Android phone/tablet is not, Netflix had an answer in a very apologetic blog post.
"We live to get Netflix on new devices, so the current lack of an Android-generic approach to quickly get to all Android devices is frustrating," Netflix's Greg Peters wrote. However, it appears that Android is the problem here and the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem is amplifying the issue.
"The hurdle has been the lack of a generic and complete platform security and content protection mechanism available for Android," Peters wrote. "The same security issues that have led to piracy concerns on the Android platform have made it difficult for us to secure a common Digital Rights Management (DRM) system on these devices."
However, in other cases, Netflix has been able to work with handset and technology vendors to protect content. As far as Android is concerned, there is apparently only slow progress. Because of the security problems and the fragmentation of the Android platform, Netflix said that some Android devices will get Netflix support and some will not. "This clearly is not the preferred solution, and we regret the confusion it might create for consumers," Peters wrote. "However, we believe that providing the service for some Android device owners is better than denying it to everyone."
"Select" Android handsets will support Netflix "early next year," according to Peters. He also noted that the company will work with the community on platform-wide solutions. But don't hold your breath.
This is a Google problem, and if we consider the impact Netflix can have on the success of devices, the company should take this remark from Netflix seriously. Besides Steve Jobs' surprising speech about the disadvantages of Android, especially the fragmentation of the platform, this is the most visible hurdle for Google's distribution model yet.
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