Rating: Probably won’t be as bad as Apple’s previous refusal to to the Wintel line
It seems that Android smartphone manufacturers may well have outmanoeuvred Apple with its iOS based offerings in an almost unexpected area – the digitally connected home. The key to this success will be the Digital Living Network Alliance’s (DLNA) open media sharing standards. According to a report just released by IMS Research, the vast majority of DNLA enabled devices will be Android-based handsets. That’s because Apple is not expected to embrace DNLA’s open standard with the iPhones – relying instead on AirPlay. That’s Apple’s version of Wi-fi based services. “The consequence of Android smartphone manufacturers’ decision to include DLNA video servers in their handsets is very significant,” says Stephen Froehlich, a senior analyst with IMS Research.
He doesn’t hint how disastrous an omission this might prove to be. At worst it could be akin to Apple’s decision not to go down the Wintel (Windows/Intel route).
IMS says that beyond the established DLNA video markets of North America and Japan, Wi-fi enabled smartphones will rapidly become the vanguard of in-home media sharing and management.
What it will mean is that an Android smartphone will essentially become a personal ID key that unlocks a consumer’s access to his or her content library and then serves it to any DLNA video client device in the home.
The catch, of course, is that consumers have got to want to do this. And there’s the rub- it is exactly the decision by Android smartphone manufacturers to push out DLNA video servers inside their phones that is likely to create awareness of these functions.
“We expect to see a new culture of video portability emerge from that awareness,” Froehlich concludes.
He expects this to lead to aggressive cord-cutting (ie connecting stuff up wirelessly) in regions outside North America and Japan,”
Indeed, IMS Research’s ‘Video Content Distribution in the Smart Home’ report forecasts that 70 per cent of DLNA devices shipped outside of North America and Japan in 2015 will be Wi-fi-enabled smartphones.
The best bit, apparently, is that it doesn’t cost that much to built a DNLA compliant capability inside an Android handset.
GoMo News has already spotted a number of Motorola manufactured Android handset s that support DNLA. With any luck we’ll get to test it.