Who will build the wireless HDMI cable? That's still not clear, but it looks like Qualcomm might be on its way to creating the wireless RCA jack. Today, the company is announcing that its AllPlay wireless streaming music solution — an open-source Apple AirPlay competitor — is on its way to producing consumer products this year.
Here at CES 2014, Panasonic and Altec Lansing have committed to building wireless speakers, and several companies are building wireless adapters, one of which is pictured above. On the content side, iHeartRadio, Rhapsody, Napster, DoubleTwist, Grooveshark, TuneIn, and SomaFM will all be able to sling audio to that hardware from their iOS and Android apps, Qualcomm announced.
In case you're unfamiliar with AllPlay or its previous incarnation MagicPlay, it works much like a combination of Apple's AirPlay and Google's Chromecast. When your supported app detects a set of supported speakers over a local network, an icon appears to let you stream audio to those targets — and even to set up fancy multiroom audio environments, if you have multiple sets of wireless speakers, like a Sonos setup.
Probably pricy to start
While Qualcomm warns that AllPlay hardware could initially be relatively pricey — "[We're] targeting both the functionality of whole home audio and the price points that go along with it," says Qualcomm's Sy Choudhury — the company believes it could become a built-in feature of audio devices before long, thanks to a "smart audio module" that manufacturers can integrate into their products with a built-in processor, precertified wireless connectivity, and all the trimmings. In early 2014 the company plans to release the software SDK to app developers, and plans to have a certification program for more hardware devices in the future.
Eventually, the company hopes to add streaming video as well.
"If our focus is right, and we execute and really bring whole home connectivity to the masses, we believe that AllPlay will become a cross-platform infrastructure and framework for different devices to exchange media," says Choudhury.