Fox and Google gang up on Apple

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Twentieth Century Fox logoIf you've got a Android smartphone or tablet, you'll soon be able to download some of the world's most successful movies. This morning's FT reports Twentieth Century Fox is to make Android device-compatible copies of films such as X-Men: First Class available buyers of its titles on Blu-ray disc.

The move is a significant step in establishing Android as a media platform that can give Apple a run for its money. Titles will be available from this autumn to users in the US, UK, France and Germany, who can download the films to their computers then loaded onto an Android device.

Up until now, Twentieth Century Fox's films have only been available for Windows and via Apple's iTunes service. Android's share of the smartphone market is predicted to rise to 49%, but it has not been seen as a media platform like Apple's devices because of a lack of playback and copy-protection technology.

Blu-ray

The FT quotes the company's Vincent Marcais as saying the move is "important" beacsue it "further enhances Blu-ray discs as the best way to your movies to all your screens". Blu-ray's upcoming Ultraviolet technology standard will allow content to be moved wirelessly between devices.

The film studio is also developing new apps for smartphones and tablets using both the Android and Apple platforms that are designed to be used in conjunction with watching a film. These could offer social networking opportunities and companion material such as actor biographies or quizzes.

Expect to see more tie-ups as Google and Apple continue to slug it out in their bids to become omnipresent in our lives. Apple dropped the word "computer" from its company name in 2007, and now majors on three portable devices that it hopes means it can be with us wherever we go.

Smartphones

That's put it into more direct conflict with Google, which also provides services which touch on almost every area of our lives. And Google itself was seen to move aggressively onto Apple's turf when it went into the smartphone business.

Apple is no longer just a gadget-maker; Google no longer just a search engine. Both companies retain distinct cultures, but the real battleground is content, because it is content that will drive people to use the services and purchase the devices.

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