For the longest time, Amazon enticed users to choose the Fire tablet with exclusive access to Prime Instant Video; despite the fact that Fire devices run a version of Android, purely Android tablets were denied the benefits of their modified brethren. Yesterday, though, that finally changed — Amazon unceremoniously made the Prime Instant Video app available to all Android tablets.
Sadly, the installation process isn’t without quixotic complexities. You’ll need to install the Amazon Appstore first, disengage the “don’t install from unknown sources” option in your tablet’s security menu, launch the Appstore, and then download, install, and launch the separate Prime Instant Video app.
The reason for the hassle isn’t entirely clear, but Amazon’s tried to circumvent Google’s rules with quirky workarounds in the past. Most infamously, the Amazon app was removed from the Play Store last December for violating the Developer Distribution Agreement prohibition on apps “facilitat[ing] the distribution of software applications and games for use on Android devices outside of the Store.”
Amazon has devoted increasing resources to Prime Instant Video as it tries to keep up in the cutthroat streaming space. Just this year, the service debuted 13 series pilots and committed to extending the critical darling from producer Ridley Scott The Man in the High Castle, into a series. Transparent, another well-reviewed and Emmy award-winning Amazon original, was renewed for a second season late last year. Among others, it joins Bosch, Amazon’s original and reportedly most-viewed drama series.
Beyond programming, Amazon’s looking for new ways to differentiate Prime Instant Video from the rest of the pack. The service became the second major subscription streaming service (after Netflix) to jump into the 4K game last year with the launch of 4K UHD movies and TV for rent, and also offered a live concert starring Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett in collaboration with LG. The addition of the service for Android tablets makes one more way to head to Amazon for your streaming fix.