Netflix recently updated its mobile app to run on all Android 2.2 and 2.3 devices, and this morning I idly decided to try it out on my HTC Thunderbolt while procrastinating from other work. I was doubtful I’d remember our Netflix login, or that the app would work well over 4G or coffee-house Wi-Fi, but lo and behold, after about 90 seconds I had a working Netflix player in my hand. And it works like magic.
First off, the Netflix app immediately pulled up recently-watched items, and there at the top was Phineas and Ferb. In one click I was suddenly watching the episode my daughter started this morning, beginning right at the point where I shut off the TV an hour ago so we could head off to school. (Yes, I am that parent.) The app knew what we’d been watching and was able to resume play as if I’d never switched to another device in another location. That may seem mundane to some, but having watched the cable industry aim at fixed-mobile convergence for years, I find it pretty breathtaking. Netflix offers a true continuous experience across devices and networks, no configuration gymnastics required. Most other TV doesn’t work like that yet.
For the PQ hounds out there, the Netflix quality on a mobile device probably doesn’t cut it, but in a pinch, or when you find yourself in the doctor’s office waiting room, it’s a pretty good deal. As iOS users – and owners of a handful of Android phones that were supported early – already know, the app lets you search content, browse by genre, and access your instant queue. You can watch instantly, read a description, or find similar titles listed as recommendations. It’s simple, and compelling. And another reason to stick to my Netflix subscription even with continued content challenges on the horizon.