Twentieth Century Fox to offer Android movies

Movie studio Twentieth Century Fox has announced that it will be bringing movie downloads to Google’s Android platform later this year, with UK phone and tablet users likely to be one of the first places to benefit.

According to the Financial Times, the first releases will be in October, starting with X-Men: First Class, which you will be able to download as an Android-compatible digital copy. This can then be 'side loaded' onto an Android phone. So not a seamless process, but if you fancy watching big-name movies on the go (off on holiday for example), possibly worth the effort.

The service will first be made available in the US, UK, France and Germany and be something of a first. Until now, digital downloads of its movies have only been available for Windows and Apple iTunes. But with Android becoming more of a major player, not least when it comes to movie downloads, Twentieth Century Fox obviously wants a piece of the action.

Android has been ignored a little by the major players, in terms of media, because it has lacked some playback and copy-protection technologies that movie studios insist on. Google has now addressed that by acquiring Widevine, a rights-management and streaming technology which powers services such as Netflix. As a result of that, Android now has more appeal for media companies looking to sell product.

Fox still sees Blu-ray as the dominant selling tool, with downloads running alongside this as an added sales tool. Vincent Marcais, senior VP for marketing at Twentieth Century Fox International Home Entertainment, said: 'One thing we didn’t anticipate was that people would be walking around with something called a tablet. But with the connectivity and interactivity [in Blu-ray] we can now use the tablet as a second screen device to complement what is happening as you watch the big screen.'

Fox is also developing new smartphone and tablet apps for Android and Apple, designed to be used in conjunction with a film being watched on the TV, for example allowing social networking, companion materials such as quizzes and actors’ biographies or other interactive features. Look out for those later in the year too.

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