Easily in the top five questions we get from you guys -- and this is one we've been asking, too -- is "Where the hell is Netflix for Android?" It's been a fleeting rumor for months and months, and still we don't have it. But now we at least know why.
Greg Peters of Netflix product development took to the company blog tonight to explain why the iPhone and Windows Phone 7 get streaming movies, but Android's shut out. It comes down to "the lack of a generic and complete platform security and content protection mechanism available for Android," Peters writes, continuing with:
"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. 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. Although we don’t have a common platform security mechanism and DRM, we are able to work with individual handset manufacturers to add content protection to their devices."
The good news? Peters says "we'll launch select Android devices that will instantly stream from Netflix early next year," and they'll keep working with carriers and manufacturers to develop a better solution for the entire Android platform.
Peters kind of makes it sound like Netflix itself will be "launching" new devices, but that seems a wee bit unlikely. "Select devices" and "early next year" sure make us wonder if an impending Android OS revision (hi, Gingerbread!) or two (hello, Honeycomb!) have anything to do with that.
One thing's for sure, though: It can't come soon enough. [Netflix] Thanks, Dustin!