Qualcomm Atheros is releasing version 1.0 of its mobile media management app Skifta on Wednesday. Skifta, which has been in beta for close to a year, utilizes DLNA to give Android devices similar functionality as Apple’s Airplay protocol. But for Qualcomm, it’s not so much about promoting an open solution that competes with Apple – it’s about getting consumers familiar with the general idea
Skifta was originally released in December of 2010 and became the first software application to be DLNA-certified earlier this year. So what’s DLNA? It’s a home media networking protocol that is supported by a whole range of CE products ranging from Sony’s PS3 to connected TVs, Blu-ray players and NAS drives. Skifta can access media stored on DLNA devices as well as play media back on some of these devices. For example, users can stream a video straight from their Android cell phone to a DLNA-certified TV.
The problem with DLNA is that it’s still largely unknown. Qualcomm Atheros Director of Product Marketing for the Networking Business Unit Gary Brotman told me earlier this week that there are now an estimated 500 million DLNA devices in the market – but most consumers simply don’t know how to utilize the protocol. “We look at it as latent demand,” said Brotman.
Qualcomm now wants to wake that demand by getting people to play with home media sharing, which could be the first step towards embracing the concept of the connected home. To make this even easier, Skifta is also introducing a media sharing application for Mac OS, Windows and Linux that turns the home computer into a media server. Another feature added to the new version is support for 3G video viewing, which makes it possible to consume home media libraries remotely.
Skifta is free to end users, and Brotman said that Qualcomm doesn’t have any immediate plans for generating revenue with the app. He did mention that Sifta could theoretically help people to sell media in the future. Skifta is already able to access media collections from Facebook, Flickr, Revision3 and other third-part sites, and Brotman that his team is working on adding additional content channels in the future.
Learn more about new technologies for connected consumers at our Roadmap conference, coming up in San Francisco on November 10.