Qualcomm Atheros just announced its new connected home platform built around the company's free Skifta DLNA app for Android devices and PC, Mac, and Linux desktops. The first component of the Skifta Media Shifting Platform is a Skifta Wireless Audio Adapter designed for manufacturers looking to add some special sauce to their streaming DLNA audio solutions. According to Qualcomm, device makers incorporating the Qualcomm Atheros communication modules with embedded Skifta software can offer consumers a more fully-formed vision of the DLNA / UPnP standards, including remote access from anywhere in the world and direct content acquisition from providers like Spotify, Pandora, and Rhapsody. In this way, Qualcomm's aim is similar to Samsung's enhanced Allshare implementation of DLNA but with the goal of making its Skifta embed a cross-platform solution. Obviously, Qualcomm hopes to sell more chips in the process but the company tells us that its Media Shifting Platform "isn't wedded to Qualcomm silicon."
Unfortunately, DLNA, for all its ubiquity — there are over 12,000 certified DLNA devices like TVs, receivers, game consoles, NAS boxes, and Blu-ray players on the market — is plagued by widely divergent interpretations and enhancements to the standard. The result is an unpredictable and uneven user experience in the home. As such, Qualcomm hopes to leverage the relative popularity of its Skifta apps (and soon to be announced OEM handset licensing deals) in order to convince vendors to try a new approach, a standard enhancement to the standard, if you will. Unfortunately, the company doesn't have any partners to announce at launch.
The Skifta Wireless Audio Adapter hardware development kit will be available in they first half of 2012, with a streaming video solution to be introduced sometime later.