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Nine more Android devices pick up Hulu Plus as Netflix announces Qwikster

by Phil Hornshaw

Amidst the big Internet joke that has been Netflix over the last few days, competitor Hulu has added a bunch of smartphones and tablets to the list of Android devices that will work with its streaming video app.

If you’re a Netflix customer considering jumping ship, you might not be alone. The company announced this week that it would be spinning off its DVD mailing service into a new business, called Qwikster. Besides the terrible naming decision (the suffix “-ster” doesn’t really lead to a lot of successful tech businesses, it seems), Netflix failed to research the social media connections with the new name, leaving its new brand’s Qwikster Twitter account in the hands of a user whose profile picture depicts Elmo of Sesame Street smoking a joint.

That might have given some of us a laugh, but the truth is that this seems to be the latest in a series of missteps by a company that, at one time, seemed as though it could do no wrong. It’s clear to everyone that Netflix can’t wait to dump its DVD business, likely because it’s finding that business getting hunks bitten out of it by competitor Redbox. That’s the service where you can rent DVDs for one day from a vending machine in your local grocery store.

While Netflix has finally gotten its Android app compatible with all Android 2.2 and 2.3 devices (and by default, it seems, all the Honeycomb tablets out there – or at least the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1), it has also done a pretty good job of annoying its customers with a recent rate hike for its streaming video service.

But Android users who aren’t so thrilled with Netflix, despite the fact that the updated Android streaming app does work extremely well, have some alternatives. Hulu Plus now works on nine new devices: “Motorola Droid Bionic, Motorola Droid 3, Motorola Droid X2, LG Revolution, LG G2x, HTC Incredible 2, HTC Evo 3D and HTC Sensation, as well as the HTC Flyer tablet,” according to the Hulu blog.

That’s still not quite as many devices as Netflix can be used with, but it’s certainly better than the nine fewer Hulu Plus supported two days ago. Hulu is also a fairly viable alternative to Netflix when it comes to streaming TV shows. At $7.99 a month for a subscription, Hulu brings access to a number of shows that are currently running seasons on TV after the episode has aired. Netflix beats it on movie streaming, however.

There are a few other alternatives to Netflix service as well. The Android Market offers movie rentals through streaming for most Android devices, although the functionality is lacking on some tablets. Still, the streaming rentals are pretty cheap, so if they work with your device, it might be a good way to shore up movie content not offered by Hulu.

Unfortunately, alternatives to Netflix for users who really want to ditch the service seem to be incomplete, at least for now. Blame Android’s fragmentation. But if Netflix can get around the trouble with devices (for the most part), it’s likely that Hulu Plus will be able to do so as well before long.