Though Qualcomm introduced the AllPlay wireless streaming technology at its Uplinq conference in San Diego four months ago, it wasn't ready for OEMs and app developers to start incorporating into their products. That ends today, however, with the official commercial availability of the AllPlay smart media platform. Several companies have already committed themselves to the standard, like Grooveshark, Tune-In, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, Panasonic and Altec Lansing, with more on the way. A key factor in AllPlay's platform is Qualcomm's new smart audio module -- which has an Atheros 2x2 dual-band WiFi SoC -- that manufacturers can simply pop in their existing offerings and have it instantly be AllPlay-friendly. Today's announcement also includes the release of AllPlay's Click SDK so that developers can start integrating AllPlay functionality into their Android and iOS apps.
As a brief reminder, AllPlay is an audio-streaming solution based on Qualcomm's AllJoyn connectivity framework. It's thus designed to be open source, promising universal interoperability among software and hardware that adhere to the AllPlay protocol. That means AllPlay devices should play well with compatible apps and vice versa. Thanks to a Party mode feature, you can play different songs on different speakers throughout the house and have separate volume controls for each. Other goodies include support for a variety of different audio codecs (MP3, AAC, AAC+, FLAC and WAV just to name a few) and DLNA support.
"We prefer the analog approach of interoperability," says Sy Choudhury, senior director of product management for Qualcomm. Either consumers have to buy into a single company, or they have to settle for something like stereo Bluetooth, which Choudhury says doesn't offer high enough audio quality. "Snapdragon allowed a lot more interoperability and smaller OEMs to join the mobile market ... we're trying to do the same with the home audio industry." As for just when we'll see the first consumer device with AllPlay, that remains to be seen, but it seems like we should expect a few by the end of 2014.