The inability to enforce unilateral DRM on an open-source platform has forced Netflix to delay the release of an instant streaming application for Android-based smart phones. While the popular movie rental company offers its service for iPhone and Windows Phone 7 platforms, it has no comparable app available for Android. Implementing a sufficiently piracy-proof DRM scheme that meets the requirements of film/TV studios and networks has proven to be more difficult than expected.
Although Netflix does not rely on a common security mechanism for its iPhone and Windows apps, the company adds more content protection by working closely with individual handset makers. Both Apple and Microsoft offer a tight ecosystem for handsets and the content available on them, unlike Android-based handsets, which operate on a wide variety of OS versions. Nonetheless, Netflix still plans to launch a mobile app for instant streaming on some Android devices in 2011. Netflix also plans to work with the Android handset manufacturers, carriers and other service providers “to develop a standard, platformwide solution that allows content providers to deliver their services to all Android-based devices.”