Updated to support all Froyo and Gingerbread version of the Android operating system, Netflix has made its mobile Android app compatible with over 80 percent of purchased Android devices. Since the original release of the app, users have been frustrated with Netflix’s slow progress in updating the application. When the Netflix app launched in May 2011, it only supported five Android devices. That number increased to 24 devices in July 2011, but was far from compatibility across the entire Android lineup. To access the streaming content, new users must install the nearly 20MB application and create a Netflix account to subscribe to the streaming service for a monthly fee of $7.99.
This update to Netflix 1.4 is primarily concerned about allowing access to streaming content over smartphones. Android tablets that are running the latest version of the operating system were left out with this update. According to Dave at PCWorld, there are still only two compatible tablets that can access Netflix through the application, Lenovo’s IdeaPad and the ThinkPad. Both tablets run the 3.1 version of the Android operating system. Android users have attempted a series of work-arounds to access Netflix’s streaming service over the last few months. However, more than 15 percent of the Android user base won’t be able to take advantage of the new Netflix update as they are currently still using the 2.1 version of the Android software.
Fragmentation of versions within the Android user base has been a persistent issue for Google and companies developing new applications for the various Android-powered devices. With Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich version coming up for for release in October or November, Google is hoping to take a step toward creating the same interface between smartphones and tablets. Ideally, this will allow app developers to create new content for both devices in a more efficient manner. After the release of Ice Cream Sandwich, the next rumored version name for the Android OS will be Jelly Bean.