Fragmandroid: Netflix app spotlights Android AppLag, fragmentation crisis

“Finally, Netflix has come to the Android platform. Or some of it, at least,” Mike Isaac reports for Wired. “Only a handful of Android phones will be able to run it.”

“As of today, four HTC model phones (the Incredible, EVO 4G, G2, Nexus One) and the Samsung Nexus S are the only devices capable of running the app,” Isaac reports. “We tried sideloading the app onto our Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, as well as onto an LG G2X smartphone; No dice. The G2X wouldn’t even open the app. We were able to access Netflix’s web store through the Galaxy Tab, but we weren’t allowed to stream movies on the unsupported device.”

“Netflix product team member Roma De explains the holdup in a blog post. Essentially, the sheer number of different Android devices available is problematic, because Android lacks ‘standard streaming-playback features that the Netflix application can use to gain broad penetration across all available Android phones,’ De wrote,” Isaac reports. “Of course, the iPhone has had this capability for the better part of a year, and Netflix works as well on the iPod Touch and the iPad.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Netflix was released for iOS devices over a year ago, on April 1, 2010. No joke (if you’re an android settler). We often talk about AppLack™ for other platforms. If they finally do get the app, which are often uglier versions with fewer features than the developers’ top priority iOS apps, the time delay for those who settled for pretend iPhones is what we call AppLag™. In the case of Netflix, provided you have one of the handful of android devices that Netflix supports, the AppLag™ was one year, one month and two weeks. Moral of the story: Don’t settle the next time your contract ends. Get the real thing. Yup, if you don’t have an iPhone, well, you don’t have an iPhone.

More info and download link (free) via Apple’s App Store for iOS devices: Netflix app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.


  1. The 3 Android owners I know only got their tryPhones because they were CHEAP (read: free) and they’re more than happy to admit it.

    Now after many months of use, 2 of them will tell you they hate Android and are just waiting for contract/etc. to upgrade to a real iPhone and the 3rd is blissfully stupid – she’s coming from a flip-phone and uses a 8 year-old PeeCee.

    1. A guy at work has always praised his android, and laughed at my expensive iPhone.

      Guess what he is thinking now? His contract is up soon… And getting an iPhone. He finally admitted that there are things his android just can’t do, but my iPhone does.

  2. Kids and brother all got nexus whatever phones and they were bragging about them when new but now the complaints, oh my …..

    I must be evil be ause I love provoking them, especially against each other ……

  3. The Fandroid crowd are the most resilient bunch. They will look you in the eye and tell you that they don’t need Netflix because of it’s content selection. They know that’s a lie and so do I. They’re like children. When they can’t have something, they try to minimize it’s importance to save face.

  4. Real Problem is that Apple users are smart people that wants the best price/quality/value for their money.
    Android users are just people that hates apple.
    Microsoft’s fans are people that are just ignorants.

  5. Android phone makers treat the OS as just one of the components. The processor component comes from Qualcomm. The RAM component comes from Samsumg. The display component comes from LG. And the OS component comes from Google. There is never an intent that the OS be upgradable (beyond minor bug fixes); it’s FIRMware. It’s just a component and meant to stay AS IS for the life of the product. Hence, it’s fragmentation “by design.”

    In stark contrast, Apple designs its mobile products (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) to have an evolving OS. It’s an intentional part of the design to improve the OS over time and consolidate as many users as possible on the latest version through free major (and minor) updates that are installed by iTunes. For the intended lifetime of an iOS device, it WILL (by design) run the latest possible software. At some point, an older device will no longer be supported by the latest iOS, but that’s just software capability outpacing hardware capability, NOT fragmentation “by design.”

    iOS devices are true computers. Android devices are disposable gadgets.

  6. Simple pattern recognition would have predicted this. How utterly normal. Here’s the great part: Google can blame the handset builders and the carriers; the carriers can blame Google and the handset makers; The handset makers can blame Google and the carriers.

    Predicting Android apps will suck is easy. It just works.

  7. I’ve seen some chatter about the Netflix apps this week. What I kind amusing is that the iOS Netflix apps really suck. The iPhone app I would put in the mediocre category. The iPad app I would put in the crap category.

    I say this as a near daily user of the apps. I think they are implemented as UIWebView wrapper apps. The play buttons never give an indication they are pressed, and the loading spinner takes several seconds to show up, especially on the iPad version. The “Genre” tableview never shows the selected row. I think the bar is pretty low for the Android version.

    1. I agree – the iOS version still has a long way to go. It is geared only toward instant streaming and managing the instant queue. It should be able to manage all aspects of a Netflix account, including adding movies to the DVD queue. And a simple web wrapper is all that is needed. Sure, I can do all this in Safari, but it would be sensible for the mobile app to provide the whole enchilada.

  8. Did they look at the android API? Its had video and playback interfaces since v1.5. You can also feed the video objects a stream.

    I think there is something else going on here. There are a ton of video streaming and playback apps on android and i haven’t found one yet that says “only on device x or y”.

    Thinking DRM or some other special requirement they have is the culprit cause this does not seem to be a problem for all the other apps out there that stream video.

    1. Um, yeah. I’m pretty sure that the developers wanted to create a sub-par app that only worked on a handful of devices, so they didn’t do a thorough investigation of the API on purpose.

  9. “unsupported device”
    “unsupported device”
    “unsupported device”
    “unsupported device”

    Does this remind anyone else of “Plug and Pray”, except maybe on METH?!

    Poor show.

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