Netflix has just revamped its mobile app for Android by adding new features that are simple, innovative and useful for the company's customers. In fact, the new Netflix app improvements are so good and add so much for customers that they should be held up as a great example of what businesses should be doing to make their apps more valuable to end users.
Amazingly, the Netflix app additions aren't particularly complicated. The first key update will let Netflix customers share the television shows and movies they like or dislike with their friends through social media, mimicking the capabilities Netflix customers already have had on the company's Website, iPads and iPhones, gaming systems and smart TVs since September. Also added are a wider range of rich Android push notifications and new images and action buttons to let users do more with the app.
But the other big update is even cooler. Netflix has now added integration with Google's Android Wear, allowing users to be alerted on their Android Wear devices when they receive movie or TV show recommendations from others. It also allows them to watch the shows or movies, thank their friends for the recommendations, and get more details about the shows or movies. This can connect the Netflix app with an Android smartwatch so that smartwatch users can get Netflix content on their wrists.
That's very cool and a great example of a company that is actually thinking about its mobile apps in the right way—from the perspective of its customers.
It's no mystery—mobile apps can make or break the customer experience for users. And by adapting an existing app to new technologies and opportunities that come along—such as integrating it with the still-growing world of Android Wear—is a brilliant and bold move.
So are smartwatches on the wrists of every consumer in the United States today? Of course not, but that's why the move by Netflix to tie its app into Android Wear is so interesting. It would have been safer for the company to sit on the sidelines waiting to see if Android Wear will become huge. That's not what it chose to do here.
That's the beauty of the Netflix move. If companies sit on the sidelines when every innovation arrives to see if it will be adopted by users, they will certainly be way behind the curve when they try to join the parade later. By jumping in early through its app, Netflix can potentially influence the market with its feature-rich app and help lead the way in app development for this new area of consumer interest.
Netflix has taken its share of criticisms over the last few years over its pricing, policies and more, but its recent leadership in mobile app development may turn its image around.
If they're smart, other businesses should be taking notes and implementing changes to their own apps to keep pace.