Android handsets are growing in the market like weeds in an open field. The numbers are making the growth of other things pale by comparison.
With the numbers of phones growing so rapidly, many are wondering why no one is trying to further monetize the platform with some sort of video streaming right away.
To answer those questions, Maximum PC got the news directly from the horse’s mouth, speaking to Netflix about the apparent lack of interest –
Android’s installed base is growing by more than 200,000 handsets a day, yet despite its popularity Netflix’s fans might be wondering why they’ve been getting the snub with no access to an instant streaming app. Up until now we assumed they simply had bigger fish to fry, but it turns out the reason actually hits at the very core of Androids popularity, it’s open source architecture. According to Netflix spokesman Greg Peters the main concern revolves around “platform security and content protection mechanisms” which currently don’t meet with film and TV studio demands. "Setting aside the debate around the value of content protection and DRM, they are requirements we must fulfill in order to obtain content from major studios for our subscribers to enjoy."
200K per day? That sounds like someone is giving away not only the phones, but the plans needed for having one of these smartphones – and we know that’s not happening.
I wonder if this will continue, or if this is the latest toy that the market place has brought. Could this be the beginning of one person, one phone? It would be really interesting to see how many of these 200K per day are previous phone owners, and how many are converts – new to the wide world of cell phones, phone plans, and charges for those plans.
This might sound like bad news for Android owning Netflix fans, but all is not lost. According to Peters the company is working with individual handset makers to add the necessary content protection that would allow them to bundle in the Netflix app, however the exact models and required OS versions have yet to be announced. "This clearly is not the preferred solution, and we regret the confusion it might create for consumers," Peters explained. "However, we believe that providing the service for some Android device owners is better than denying it to everyone."
If your phone happens to be lucky enough to make the cut you can expect to see the Netflix app hit the marketplace sometime in early 2011.
The problem is that in making the phones a place for playing the content, the DRM will undoubtedly ruin the best features of the phones, their open architecture and the ability to modify them to one’s own desires.
Smartphones all have memory card slots, and no movie studio is going to want users to have the ability to save the movies to a card, for later enjoyment – because they see later enjoyment being had by others, on other phones. That will generally be the steps to lock down the cards from any access, at least while the streaming is occurring.
But what happens if some of the necessary information for the use of the phone is there, and the user has to retrieve it as a call comes in? More problems.
Of course, the DRM issues have been worked out on Xboxes and PS3s, but then they don’t have anything close to the open code that Androids share. The movie studios are no doubt worried that it will only be a hop, skip, and a jump command for the content funneled to a phone to make its way to a PC, where it can be duplicated, modified, and made available to the greater viewing public, without any sort of prior payment arranged.