Netflix has been working on a mobile app for Android devices for some time, but hasn’t been able to release anything yet due to the lack of system-wide DRM (digital rights management) for Android phones and tablets. Now the company is starting to show off Netflix streaming on Android devices with Qualcomm’s next-generation processors.
VentureBeat has an article about the deal which makes it sound like the Qualcomm chips are the first ones that will be fast enough to reliably stream content, but that’s not exactly true. Netflix apps work pretty well on iOS and Windows Phone 7 devices. But Qualcomm is building DRM and security features directly into its next-generation chips which will make it possible for Netflix to stream content without worrying about piracy.
MobileCrunch has a video of the app in action after the break… or rather, in inaction, since the wireless network at Mobile World Congress wasn’t reliable enough to actually stream any video. But you can check out the demo of the user interface after the break. Not surprisingly, the app looks a lot like the Netflix app for the iPhone.
Devices with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon chips could be available starting in the second quarter of 2011. There’s no word on whether the Netflix app will be available to the public by then.
It’s also not clear that Qualcomm is the only chip maker that will build the security measures required for Netflix into their hardware, so we might eventually see devices with other chips running Netflix for Android as well.
Update: Yup. It looks like Texas Instrument is showing off Netflix on devices with its OMAP4 processor as well. Charbax from ArmDevices shot some video, and you can see a demo unit running the Netflix app below. It even shows video streaming (and shows that WiFi is a bit hit or miss at the Mobile World congress show floor).