After announcing its plans last summer to develop smartphone apps for accessing its HBO GO video-on-demand streaming service, HBO was relatively quiet about its progress. We’d hear a brief mention about the future iPhone and Android HBO GO apps in press releases regarding new HBO GO partners, but no status updates. Then, a couple weeks ago, HBO published a teaser video showcasing the apps, suggesting they may come out on May 2. Color us surprised, then, to see them drop three days early, as HBO has released both the iPhone and Android versions of HBO GO today.
If you’re an HBO subscriber, and get your service through one of the participating cable/satellite companies, you can get free access to HBO GO content. It’s unfortunate that simply being a subscriber isn’t enough, so complain to your cable company if you don’t make the cut. If you do qualify, you can start accessing your favorite HBO programs anywhere you have a 3G or better data connection.
It’s interesting to note that, despite offering in many ways the same type of content as Netflix, HBO isn’t being restrictive about which Android devices get access to the app; Netflix will require approved processors able to run secure code for its DRM implementation, limiting access to phones like the the LG Revolution. For HBO GO, all you’ll need is an Android running Eclair or better (though initial reports note problems with some phones, like the original Droid). We were worried after hearing that the app would only be available for “selected” Androids, but apparently that’s not the case.
HBO GO is available now from Apple’s App Store and in the Android Market.