Netflix, which only made its Android application available for Android tablets, has rolled out an improvement to its app to boost discovery of its content on slates such as the newly available Kindle Fire and Nook tablets.
Zal Bilimoria, formerly a product manager at Google and Microsoft who manages mobile products at Netflix, said the new interface displays twice as many movies and TV shows as before.
"Also, we've taken greater advantage of the tablet's unique features, inviting you to swipe through rows of titles featuring larger artwork," Billimoria added. In other words, it's gotten less like a smartphone app and more like a tablet app.
This is true; I downloaded the app on the Kindle Fire and it looks improved from before, allowing me to access my most recently watched clips right from the top of the app screen in the "continue watching section." "Top picks for you" and the "Instant Queue" live right under this option.
See it for yourself:
Billimoria also said Netflix will be whipping out its refreshed iPad app in the coming weeks, which will be the far bigger news when it drops given the fact that Apple has sold over 32 million and counting of the world's most popular tablet.
Daring Fireball's John Gruber called the current Netflix iPad layout "pretty lame."
While that comment won't go down as one of his more profound statements, his following comment points to a potential exit strategy for the streaming content/DVD provider:
"Interesting spot they're in -- Apple has its own tablet, Amazon now has its own tablet, but Netflix instead relies solely on apps they're creating for use on its competitors' tablets. Apple and Amazon both offer end-to-end solutions, Netflix doesn't, and I don't think ever could."
Where does that leave Netflix? Fodder for acquisition to perhaps Samsung, the leading Android OEM. Or maybe Google could buy it and pair it with its mobile apps.
My vote for the company who could benefit most from acquiring Netflix is Microsoft, which would love to have something shiny and new as the centerpiece of forthcoming Windows 8 tablets in the future.
Microsoft's brand in the consumer sector beyond the Kinect is pretty poor -- just look at Windows Phone and Bing and how they haven't made much headway. Netflix could bring Microsoft some nice consumer credibility. Along with millions of DVDs it doesn't need. :)