App Review: Flix 9
Editor's note: It's my pleasure to introduce another new writer to the webOS Nation: Scott Rose! Scott is a mcirobiologist by day and a webOS fan by night. In addition to long walks on the beach, he enjoys Linux, nature photography, and spending time with his wife and daughter. Everybody say hello to Scott!
Before you get too excited, we will dash your dreams right off the bat by saying that this is not a Netflix viewer. We know it's causing you crippling disappointment, but it's up to Netflix to make an app to let us watch their content on the TouchPad. That aside, Flix by Uncommon Application for the Touchpad is a Netflix app for displaying titles that are coming soon, about to be deleted, and recently added to Netflix's colossal library.
The entire app design is quite minimalist and text-oriented. It almost has a Windows Phone feel to it. Unlike most webOS apps, Flix is overwhelmingly monochromatic, but yet a bright Netflix red. At launch, Flix opens into the recently-added view for Netflix's library, providing a date-oriented list of movie post/box art and titles, all on that red background. The top of the screen provides text-based navigation, with a “delivered by Netflix” link that opens the web browser to NetFlix's website, and “last viewed,” which will serve to return you to the title you last viewed. Below that are three options: just added (highlighted, as this is the list you're looking at), coming soon, and leaving soon. "Just added" and "coming soon" are pretty obvious, being new and upcoming entries in the Netflix catalog, while "leaving soon" provides a glimpse into the side of Netflix we don't like to think about - due to licensing restrictions some titles leave the Netflix library after a certain period.
Tapping on any of the titles in the list will open a details view that gives a much larger view of the poster along with additional information such as the release year, rating, runtime, cast, directors, genres, and a brief synopsis. The poster in its enlarged form is sometimes beautifully detailed, and sometimes it is just an ugly pixelated enlargement thumbnail - while frustrating, this is more a limit of the material provided by Netflix than Flix not displaying properly.
Flix does come with a few gripes. The biggest is also perhaps the most obvious: Flix does not tie into your Netflix account. The app makes no claims to do this, but it does seem odd for a Netflix app that lists the latest Netflix library activity to not be able to add those movies to your Netflix queue. Also, quite obviously, Flix doesn't allow you to watch any of these movies and TV shows or their trailers. The "Return to list" button in the details view will always dump you back into the “just added” screen even if you were looking at the "coming soon" or "leaving soon" lists.
In truth, Flix is for the Netflix junky. Its for those that absolutely must be on top of everything that comes in and goes from Netflix, If you are awaiting with baited breath for your favorite movie to come to Netflix streaming, this app has what you need. If you want to watch that movie one last time before it disappears off of Netflix, this app will keep you on top of things. If you want to add those movies to your queue... fire up MyQ for Netflix. Whether Flix is worth $0.99, well, that's up to you.