You have to try this week’s app to believe it. My son told me about it and my reaction was “no way”. **Free movies streamed to your phone. You will notice those little * in there. Yeah, there is a catch but it’s a weird one – more on that in a moment. Crackle is an online service and the description is best left to them:

“Crackle, Inc. is a multi-platform video entertainment network and studio that distributes full length, uncut, movies, TV shows and original programming in our users’ favorite genres – like comedy, action, crime, horror, Sci-Fi, and thriller.”

The service is actually available through a web browser, but my posts focus on the mobile space and Crackle rocks on a phone. Crackle Mobile Offerings are available for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and Android. It currently works on Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T.

So how does it work? It’s ad supported, similar to HULU, and it helps to know that Crackle is a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. It streams to your mobile device over WiFi or 3G and the quality is surprisingly good.

So what’s the deal with that ‘*’ from above? Free is a moving target. Not because of Crackle, but because of the idiots at the cell companies. First, streaming over 3G requires a data plan, and you better have unlimited data. Streaming “Snatch” (One of my fav movies of all time) or “The Da Vinci Code” will eat up some serious data. And what if you do have “Unlimited Data”? No such thing. Most mobile carriers actually have a bandwidth cap, they just make it hard to find, so check with your carrier before you get a surprise in your bill.

So why are there 2 ‘*’ up there? Yep. mobile companies just don’t get it. The app is free, and the service is free, but some carriers charge you anyway. Based on the Crackle web site:

Verizon charges $5.99/month for full-length movies, original content is free. You also need a Verizon Data Plan.
Sprint charges $5.99/month for full-length movies plus a Sprint Data Plan is required.
T-Mobile charges 5.99/ month for full-length movies plus a T-Mobile Data Plan is required.
AT&T does not appear to charge extra. FTW!

The app is available in the iTunes App Store and has a 3.5 star rating from 1822 votes. Some of the reviews have complained about the app tracking your location, but you can always say no to location services. In the Android Market the app has 3 stars form 2063 ratings. A lot of those ratings complain about crashes on the Android platform, so whatever platform you use, your milage may vary.

As always, let me know below if you try it!

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April 24, 2011 at 7:13 am | KCAL Crew, KCAL Rocks, Technology | No comment