Android owners still looking for a little love from Netflix won't get shiny new streaming apps under the tree this Christmas. Instead, the popular subscription service won't arrive until Q1 2011--and on limited quantities.
That's disappointing considering Apple iOS and Windows Phone 7 owners are already enjoying all the streaming movies and TV episodes they can get for $7.99 per month. But there's good reason why Netflix hasn't arrived on Android devices--a lack of solid security.
Friday Greg Peters of Neflix's product development team provided a lengthy explanation as to why the service still hasn't arrived. "The hurdle has been the lack of a generic and complete platform security and content protection mechanism available for Android," he said. "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."
He goes on to say that DRM and content protection are two primary requirements Netflix must meet before the major studios and networks release their content. Because Android doesn't offer a common platform security mechanism and DRM, the team is having to work with individual handset manufacturers to add content protection to their devices, thus slowing down the over all process and "leading to a fragmented experience on Android," one major Android flaw pointed out by numerous other developers.
Because of this, many Android devices will have access to Netflix while other devices won't. "This clearly is not the preferred solution, and we regret the confusion it might create for consumers," he added. "However, we believe that providing the service for some Android device owners is better than denying it to everyone."
Android devices slated to receive the Netflix app will see the service early next year. In the meantime, the Netflix team said that it will work with the Android community, handset manufacturers, and other service providers to develop a standard, platform-wide solution for streaming content to Android devices.
Although not stated by Greg Peters, there's a good chance Verizon Wireless will get the Netflix app first for the DROID line. Verizon currently offers Blockbuster's streaming subscription service as well as its own V-CAST Video service.