Crackle: Free movies, TV shows on Android devices

The smartphone version is here now, and the tablet version is coming soon. Crackle serves up some decent content, and the only price you pay is watching the occasional commercial.

Crackle for Android.
Crackle for Android. Crackle

Want to watch movies and TV shows on your Android phone or tablet? For the moment your choices are a bit limited. There's Netflix, which works with only a handful of phones (unless you're game for a little hacking ) and requires a monthly subscription. Same goes for HBO Go .

Enter Crackle, a new app that lets you watch dozens of TV shows and a couple hundred movies, all free of charge (but with commercials, natch).

Available for Android 2.2 and later, Crackle is compatible with around two dozen Android phones (unlike Netflix, which runs on only half a dozen or so). I was hoping to test it with my Samsung Galaxy Tab Wi-Fi, but a tablet-compatible version isn't available--yet. (It's coming soon, according to the developer.) Thankfully, it worked like a charm on my Samsung Nexus S 4G.

Crackle delivers much of (but not all) the same content as its eponymous Web service. On the TV side, you'll find shows like "The Tick," "NewsRadio," "Soap," and AMC's "The Killing."

Unfortunately, a lot of the available series (especially newer ones) are merely clips or "minisodes," not full eps. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I don't want 5 minutes and 30 seconds' worth of "Fat Albert"--I want the whole show. Hey, hey, hey!

The jewel in Crackle's crown is its recently added batch of classic "Seinfeld" episodes, which are swapped monthly for a different batch. I'm literally pausing my writing every few minutes so I can get back to watching "The Outing." (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

As for movies, they're mostly older titles, and mostly a mix of B-, C-, and D-grade stuff. I don't watch "Joe Dirt" or "So I Married an Axe Murderer" on cable, so I'm certainly not going to watch them here.

That said, there are a few gems to choose from: "Ghostbusters," "The Freshman," "Silverado," and "Real Genius." are among those I think are worth your time. (Most underrated gem in the Crackle library: "Go.")

The app is easy to use, smart enough to resume playback if you have to leave in the middle, and able to stream over 3G/4G and Wi-Fi alike.

And did I mention it's free? Sure, the selection could be better, but if you're looking for something to watch and don't want to pay Netflix, HBO, or anybody else, Crackle can definitely keep you entertained.

 

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