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Crackle Android app starts a fire in the mobile TV world

by Ian Black

When is a good time to watch the Michael Bay movie Bad Boys? I say any time. It captured Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, and Téa Leoni at the height of their charismatic powers and has enough guns, fast cars, explosions, and witty banter to fill three action films directed by anyone else but Mr. Bay. That’s why Crackle - Movies & TV is now firmly installed on my Android, and I have no intention of removing it anytime soon.

Crackle jumps into the mobile TV ring ready for mixed martial arts cage match against Google, HBO, Hulu Plus and any other company that dares to grapple. Want content? For movies, Crackle currently delivers last century classics like The Patriot, Ghostbusters, Silverado, So I Married an Axe Murderer, and thankfully, Bad Boys. In TV Shows, you get about ten years worth of Seinfeld, Three Stooges, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, and other baby-boomer nostalgia fests.

Best of all? Crackle is free. Free as in zero dollars. Free as in no monthly bill. Free as in not like the movies in Google's Android Market, HBO, Hulu Plus, or for iOS, iTunes.

The app itself feels simple. Just browse through lists of movies or shows with pre-sorted views like Featured, Most Popular, Recently Added or search on title. You can create a queue of content you want to watch and view your history but you’ll need to sign-up for a free Crackle account to do so. Browsing contents lets you view a summary of the film or episode, see star ratings, and read why it “crackles”.

Are there issues? Definitely. While the service claims to work over Wi-Fi and 3G, I had issues watching smooth content over 3G (but watched in seamless Wi-Fi as Will Smith ran full-tilt through LA in one of the many thrilling chase sequences of Bad Boys). Also, the content is more limited and dated than all the pay mobile TV services.

And, what do I think about these concerns? Who cares!? Shhh... sit down... Bad Boys is on!

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