May 2, 2012
One of the features that Android is missing compared to iOS is AirPlay. While that uses proprietary Apple protocols and occasionally even hardware to get the job done, it does make it easy for users in the Apple ecosystem to beam their content wherever they want.
However, Android users don’t really have an equivalent service to call their own. Apps like DoubleTwist integrate with the AirPlay standard, but still basically require an AirPlay device at the other end.
Zapstreak is hoping to change this. They’re hoping to allow Android users to beam their content to their TVs and other connected media devices through the DLNA standard.
What their SDK aims to let developers do is to let them share photos, audio, and video from an Android device, and beam it to a DLNA client. DLNA is a much more open standard than AirPlay is, utilizing UPnP to help devices, even from different manufacturers and operating systems, communicate in order to share media.
So, by utilizing properly encoded information, an app integrated with Zapstreak will be able to display media on TVs very easily. For example, a music streaming app will be able to play music to a set of connected speakers if it’s integrated with Zapstreak. Photo apps can share users’ creations on a big screen with the Zapstreak. Video apps, when properly encoded, can be streamed to view on a TV, which may be the most exciting part of the Zapstreak proposition.
In speaking with Stefan Bielau of Fusion Sheep, he says that their goal is to reach connected TVs in particular, with the idea that their service will allow users to beam content without any hardware in between. Of course, any DLNA device is hypothetically usable with the service. This includes the Xbox 360 and PS3, and Stefan Bielau even mentioned an old wifi-enabled radio he was able to use to stream audio from a Zapstreak app.
While Zapstreak are not ready to reveal what will be using their SDK, especially as signups are still occurring. However, their plan, at least in the middle term, is to hopefully integrate some functionality in non-media apps, potentially utilizing Zapstreak to stream live audio to a TV. In its current incarnation, it may be difficult for an Android equivalent AirPlay Mirroring implementation to come through this.
As well, Android and DLNA appear to just be the start of thigns for Zapstreak: the plan is to launch on Windows Phone and iOS in the future, and to even get to a point where they could share to an Apple TV. Signups for the Zapstreak SDK are available from their website.