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'X-Men: First Class' the first downloadable flick for Android

A deal with Twentieth Century Fox Film is another step toward an Android competitor for downloads from the iTunes store.

Mutants are coming to your Android phone. Twentieth Century Fox Film has announced that it's bringing movie downloads to Google's mobile platform, allowing legal viewing of flicks like "X-Men: First Class" on Android devices.

X-Men: First Class will be the first film available for side-loading on to Android devices. Twentieth Century Fox Film

It won't be quite as simple as movies magically arriving on your phone through the air via Wi-Fi or 3G, however. First, you'll have to buy a Blu-Ray copy of "X-Men:First Class"--the first movie being offered for Android--then you can download a digital Android-compatible copy to a laptop or desktop and side-load it onto your device. You didn't really think a Hollywood studio was going to make this easy, did you?

Snark aside, the move represents another step toward an Android-based service to compete with Apple's media download dominance. Earlier this year, movie rentals were added to the Android market and Netflix also began offering an app for its streaming service on an increasing number of Android devices.

Android has lagged far behind Apple in the mobile movie game. CC megananne/Flickr

Apple had previously been the de facto platform for studios willing to make films available for streaming or download, owing to the established track record of the iTunes store and an edge over Google in certain technologies, such as copy protection. Then last year Google bought digital rights management firm Widevine. The acquisition opened a door to Hollywood that had previously been closed thanks to Google's free-for-all approach to content, which can often be taken literally.

Widevine's ties to Netflix and Hollywood studios have surely helped Google get a toe in a door that was previously slammed shut and probably had something to do with the Twentieth Century Fox announcement.

The new download deal won't start until the X-Men flick hits stores this fall. One title is a long way from competing with iTunes, but the combination of Androids and comic book heroes is definitely a show I can't wait to watch.

Via the Financial Times.