Could mobile be the mechanism by which Blockbuster finally makes its comeback? A new app has been announced by Blockbuster, which would take the movie rental service in an entirely new mobile direction. The app will run on Android and Windows mobile phones, with an emphasis on OnDemand programing and download options.
It’s the downloading capabilities that will set Blockbuster apart from the rest, as most other movie rental services don’t allow content downloading for on-demand movie rentals. Netflix, for instance, only offers streaming for its mobile apps. Other contenders such as DirecTV enable users to remotely interact with their satellite service, but the movie streaming is even less of an option for mobile devices.
On the other side of things, Blockbuster is still competing with the likes of Redbox, another physical kiosk that offers easy and cheap movie rentals on the fly. Though Redbox doesn’t have a digital presence (especially on the mobile front), it has become a threat to Blockbuster over the long term.
It is because of these other options that Blockbuster has needed to turn to technology in order to regain a foothold in the movie rental business. Always trying to one-up its competitors, Blockbuster’s Android and Windows mobile app will, for the most part, be a viable alternative to iTunes movie download rentals. Content will be DRM-protected, giving Android and Windows mobile users their own version of iTunes.
Being that kind of iTunes alternatives has its own downfall, however. The Blockbuster OnDemand app can’t run on Apple products, as it voilates Apple’s terms for saving movies on its devices. So while the Blockbuster OnDemand app will be available on Android devices (many of which are being manufactured by Motorolla) and the upcoming HTC Mini which is running Windows Mobile, Blockbuster can’t launch its app on the iPhone or the media-centric iPad, currently undergoing pre-sale orders.
According to ReadWriteWeb, Blockbuster may be working on an alternative app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. In that case, a streaming and downloadable option may be the way in which Blockbuster actually gets a leg up on the majority of its competitors. The presence of such apps further validates mobile platforms outside of Apple’s, and enables consumers to have a few more choices when it comes to the diverse media capabilities of non-iPhones.