Blockbuster’s On Demand Internet movie service will be the exclusive provider of movie downloads on HTC’s upcoming HD2 smartphone, which, with its large screen and entertainment offerings, could become a potential rival to Apple’s iPad.
Zak Stambor , Managing Editor
Blockbuster Inc.’s On Demand Internet movie service will be the exclusive provider in the U.S. of movie downloads on the upcoming entertainment-focused HD2 smartphone from handset maker HTC. Blockbuster, HTC and wireless carrier T-Mobile partnered for this venture.
The HD2 features a 4.3-inch touchscreen-larger than the 3.5-inch screen of Apple Inc.’s iPhone but not as generous as the 9.7-inch screen of Apple’s iPad. Still, with the Blockbuster service and a deal with Barnes & Noble Inc. for prominent placement of its e-book store on the device, the HD2 could lure consumers seeking a mobile device optimized for entertainment away from Apple’s iPad.
But HTC would have some catching up to do in terms of brand recognition. It owned only 6.5% of the smartphone market last year compared with Apple’s 17.1%, according to Gartner Inc.
Blockbuster, however, is confident its mobile movie service will add value to the HD2 smartphone.
“The HTC HD2 is like putting Blockbuster in your pocket,” says Kevin Lewis, senior vice president of digital entertainment at Blockbuster. “T-Mobile and HTC have a long history of partnering to deliver innovative, cutting-edge products-and we’re glad to provide customers the latest way to enjoy entertainment from Blockbuster.”
This is the first time Blockbuster is making movies, television shows and games available for download to a mobile phone. The retailer also offers such downloads to computers Available at the launch of the mobile offering, customers will be able to buy or rent movies digitally, and download them to their smartphone via Wi-Fi without the use of a computer, Blockbuster says. Following the launch, Blockbuster plans to let customers use the program to access the inventory at bricks-and-mortar stores and update their DVD mail queues.
Blockbuster is No. 37 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name).