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Sony's Crackle launches as iTunes' No. 1 free entertainment app

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The fight for controlling what you watch on your mobile devices just landed a new big contender. Sony Pictures Entertainment’s iPad and iPhone app Crackle launched on Monday as a free download, and it pretty much immediately landed at the top of the iTunes chart, ranking as the top overall free download for the iPad (and No. 3 for the iPhone). It’s not exactly hard to understand why; Netflix, Hulu, Time Warner Cable, and many others have been fighting to win over your eyeballs in the mobile/tablet/gizmo space/realm/dominion; while Crackle’s offerings are limited just to what falls under Sony’s corporate umbrella, that’s not a skimpy buffet: The app features movies like The Da Vinci Code, Pineapple Express, Big Daddy, and Ghostbusters, and TV shows like Seinfeld, Married with Children, and NewsRadio. (You can also watch all of this via Crackle’s website.)

Anyone who remembers the early days of Hulu, however, also knows that Sony hopes those aforementioned crown jewels will help you overlook its otherwise not-quite-as-exciting lineup: Who’s up for some obscure animé and cheesy horror? Well, okay, if you’re a geeky young male, you probably are; Crackle does tout the fact that it’s designed to appeal to those viewers “in the genres they most care about: action, comedy, crime, horror, thriller and sci-fi.” (Translation: If you’re looking for anything from Sony Pictures Classics, you’re out of luck.) Still, if Crackle does nothing else than allow me to embed the Seinfeld episode “The Puffy Shirt” below, it has done a great service to humankind.

Have you downloaded Crackle? Are you impressed by their lineup? Or are you waiting to see if its roster fills out a bit more?