Three weeks after launching its free Xfinity mobile app for Apple iOS devices, today Comcast introduced the Android version of the app. From a video features perspective, the iOS and Android versions line up pretty closely, including search and browse of the On Demand catalog, remote DVR programming and a searchable guide to local listings. All of these are handy, but as I wrote a few weeks ago, the big win for Comcast and its customers will happen when it's possible to actually watch a TV show or movie selected using the app (that capability is coming soon and is part of the larger TV Everywhere strategy).
Having now downloaded the Android app to my Droid X (and to my iPad previously), the new app goes a step further in digital voice and messaging integration, allowing Comcast voice customers to access home voicemail and forward home phone calls to their Android device, review their latest voicemail and email messages, synch their address books and use integrated Comcast.net email. It's kind of cool to be able to see a full list of all incoming, outgoing and missed calls right on the device, plus have 1-touch capability to forward the home number to the Android device. Everything is well laid out and responsive.
At the VideoSchmooze breakfast panel last week, Charlie Herrin, Comcast's SVP of Products and Technology repeatedly emphasized the idea the consumers' expectations are shifting to three screen experiences and that cable operators must adapt to succeed. Delivering video and apps to third-party devices is a huge change in mindset for operators, but Comcast clearly seems to get its importance. For all the talk about cord-cutting, pay-TV operators are slowly but surely starting to get into the connected and mobile game. That means more competition ahead and higher stakes for everyone else in the ecosystem.
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