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Amazon Prime Instant Video finally launches on Android - sort of

There are many video streaming services nowadays, such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video to name a few. Amazon is ever popular though, as it comes bundled with the awesome Prime membership which also offers music streaming, two day shipping and much more.

Sadly, Prime Instant Video has not been available on stock Android; you could only get it for the Kindle Fire tablets, Fire phone and Apple's iOS devices.

Now however, Amazon has announced that its streaming video service is now available for regular Android. Before you get too excited, please know there is a catch; it seems tablets are not yet supported.

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"The latest update of the Amazon App for Android combines the fast and easy mobile shopping experience customers have come to know and love with access to unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes from Prime Instant Video," said an Amazon spokesperson.

"After updating their existing Amazon App for Android, customers wishing to stream Prime Instant Video movies and TV episodes can install the Prime Instant Video player app, which is delivered exclusively via the Amazon Appstore. Prime members can enjoy popular HBO series like The Sopranos, True Blood, and The Wire, as well as favorites like Downton Abbey, Under the Dome, and 24, on their Android phones at no additional cost to their membership."

Paul Cousineau, Director of Mobile Shopping explains, "tens of millions of our customers have installed the Amazon app on their Android phones in order to enjoy the ease and convenience of shopping Amazon on the go. Now, the latest Amazon App for Android combines that award-winning mobile shopping experience with access to Amazon's digital products and services, including unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes at no additional cost for Prime members.

"At Amazon, we are always innovating on behalf of our customers and we look forward to receiving their feedback on this enhanced shopping experience".

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Unfortunately, there are some issues. It cannot be installed through the Play Store - Amazon is forcing you to use its own Appstore for that (a security risk since non-trusted installation must be enabled). Plus, Chromecast is not supported, which is a huge disappointment for fans of Google's dongle. Worst of all, as stated earlier, it seems to be a phone-only affair; tablets are not invited to the party.

Despite these shortcomings, it is a good first step that will surely be appreciated by many in the Android community. However, owners of the now-discounted Fire phone will likely be upset that their handset has lost an exclusive app (and further value). Once Amazon brings streaming support to Android tablets, the question will become, why do Amazon tablets and phones even need to exist?