As I've bemoaned many times, Google's Android OS lags far behind Apple's iOS in terms of video content. Depending on which Android device you have, it's either difficult or impossible to find legal sources for mainstream Hollywood movies and television shows. Today, Google is closing the gap somewhat, rolling out a new version of its app market that includes movies for rent. And the app will work on any Android device running version 2.2 or higher, which covers about 80% of the audience.
Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb has a good overview and mini-review of the new market, which also incorporates other changes to make it more iTunes-like, Perez says.
The addition of mobile movie rentals is probably the most notable change for the Android Market, as Android-based devices have been fairly lacking in this department for many months. Third-party applications like mSpot helped to fill the void for some, but it was not until the launch of Hulu and Netflix on Android that users finally had access to vast media catalogs that their iPhone-toting counterparts had through both the iPhone versions of those apps, as well as iTunes.
But even at launch, the Netflix and Hulu catalogs weren't available to all Android device owners. Netflix, for example, is struggling to deal with the large and varied install base of Android hardware, and is painstakingly certifying devices one-by-one to meet the demands of studios who require that copyright protection technology is implemented on all streams. Hulu is in the exact same boat.
-ReadWriteWeb, July 27, 2011