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With all the talk of Hulu fetching a hefty premium from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) or Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) in a potential buyout bid, you'd think Hulu would be at least on par or even ahead of its rivals in fulfilling demand for streaming apps on Android tablets. You'd be wrong. Hulu is targeting Android smartphones first.
"With the first phase of the Android rollout, Hulu Plus is available on six phones, including the Nexus One, Nexus S, HTC Inspire 4G, Motorola Droid II, Motorola Droid X, and the Motorola Atrix. We expect to add to the number of Android smartphones and will be making additional device announcements throughout the year," wrote Rob Wong, Hulu's director of product management, in a blog post yesterday. [Emphasis added.]
Excuse me: Smartphones? Why target phones when we know video streaming is one of the top three reasons consumers purchase tablets? Either Hulu management is too clueless to understand that consumers want tablets for streaming, or Google has made it too difficult to develop apps for the tablet-ready Honeycomb operating system.
After all, Hulu isn't the only streaming provider playing "keepaway" with Android tablets. Neither Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 nor Motorola Mobility's (NYSE: MMI ) Xoom can stream Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) content.
To be fair, Android's many faces cause development problems. Coders compensate by supporting Android one device at a time, a pitifully slow process. (Again, witness Netflix.)
Still, Google first talked up Honeycomb in January, during the Consumer Electronics Show. Hulu's had plenty of time to work with the tablet version of the Android OS since then. I'll grant that there may be licensing issues still to deal with, but do any of us really believe the Xoom and Galaxy wouldn't have Hulu Plus, had management chosen to focus development on Android tablets first and smartphones second? It's as if these devices have a serious case of cooties, with no cure in sight.
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