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Netflix streaming now on (a few) Android phones

The service is finally available on a handful of HTC and Samsung phones, and Netflix hopes to roll out instant streaming to more Android phones in coming months.

The Netflix on Android party is an exclusive affair.

Today, Netflix and Android scored more points in humanity's ongoing quest to be able to watch absolutely anything, anywhere, anytime--so long as you're using the right phone. Yes, the long-awaited Netflix app for Android finally showed up to the party today in the Android Market, but it apparently doesn't get along with everyone in attendance. In fact, Netflix says the app--which enables users to watch streaming movies--only runs on the following phones:

• HTC Incredible with Android 2.2
• HTC Nexus One with Android 2.2, 2.3
• HTC Evo 4G with Android 2.2
• HTC G2 with Android 2.2
• Samsung Nexus S with Android 2.3.

There's also word that it won't work on the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets, which Google handed out to Google I/O attendees earlier this week. Major party foul. But for those with one of the phones on the list, download the app and Netflix promises much of the same functionality as the iOS version, like being able to resume watching a movie or show where you left off on your TV or computer.

Netflix was in the rare camp of apps that became available on Windows Phone 7 before Android, something Roma De from Netflix's product team blames on the much maligned phenomenon of Android fragmentation. In a post on the company blog, Roma De described some of the "challenges" they faced with Android:

"One of these challenges is the lack of standard streaming playback features that the Netflix application can use to gain broad penetration across all available Android phones. In the absence of standardization, we have to test each individual handset and launch only on those that can support playback."

Roma De added that Netflix is "aggressively qualifying phones" and hopes to have a much larger roster of compatible phones in the coming months. Hopefully that means Honeycomb tablets, too.

The Netflix app is available free in the Android Market and apparently hidden from the view of my poor Motorola Droid 2, which never gets invited to anything...