Smartphone users with the Android OS can run into trouble with the Netflix app disappearing from their Google Play Store. This is applicable for those Android phones that are unlocked or rooted.
Netflix has explained in a release to the media that their latest Version 5.0 is entirely dependent on the Widevine DRM technology and environment provided by Google and their step to remove the Netflix app from the Play Store in such unblocked devices has been necessitated by this. The fact is if people using such phones have already downloaded Netflix and are using it, then this does not apply.
The others, if they try to install the Netflix app on their phones from the Play Store are probably getting a message that says their devices are not compatible with the version.
For those who are not familiar, in simple language, the unlocked and rooted devices are basically devices that are not Google-certified. Phone users make changes on their phones and remove certain files and programmes that they feel slows down their phone and this is the way they adopt to speed up their devices.
Google does not approve of this and Netflix does not want to be on the wrong side with Google. From a technical perspective the way the Widevine technology operates is to assess the security levels of the phones and place them in three different categories. The Netflix app will be allowed to be downloaded from the Play Store on only those phones that fully comply with the security requirement prescribed by Android.
It is possible event those unlocked devices now enjoying the service may stop functioning at a future date. Experts also recommend an APK file download route for such phone users if they wish to continue watching Netflix programmes on their mobile phones.
What might be of interest to customers in India is the information that Netflix is already working on a project in collaboration three different US universities; Southern California, Texas and Nantes, to find a way to run their contents on the slow speed internet connections in India.
With competitor Amazon Prime Video breathing down its neck, Netflix would want to not only protect its 100 million subscriber base but build further on. If the planned release of Apple TV in India also fructifies, and if Netflix finds a place on that platform also, the entertainment ecosystem in India could be in for a paradigm shift in the future.