Despite the fact that Google released support for Miracast’s technology with Android’s Jelly Bean 4.2 release, which would allow users to beam their media content, something iOS users have been able to do via AirPlay and Apple TV, ‘Airplay for Android’ startup Zapstreak announced its public launch today after being in private beta since April. The launch will see its software development kit (SDK) available for Android app developers and will allow them to build apps which let users beam video, photo, and music content to Wifi-connected TVs and devices.
Co-founder Stefan Bielau spoke with BetaKit about how despite the release of JellyBean 4.2, there is still plenty of opportunity for Zapstreak. “The TV set and the Android device both require a certain hardware feature which would be a standardized chip supplied by Miracast, this is our opportunity because so far only two [Android] devices have that standard, on the other hand only a few TV devices are shipped and sold with [Miracast] built in” said Bielau. “Zapstreak does not require any extra hardware…you take our SDK and put in your YouTube, Instagram, or Pandora app and as soon as a user, with whatever Android phone they have [that uses] the same Wifi [network], those things connect and he is good to go to beam the content.”
The company’s main value proposition is that it enables media beaming across devices that exist today, rather than waiting for users to adopt a next-generation standard. Its technology adapts to the use of Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) technology, a standard that allows the sharing of digital content between devices like home entertainment sets, game consoles, and Wifi radios. With that it looks to provide developers with an opportunity to use its SaaS platform to enable content beaming via their apps and significantly cut native app development costs.
Priced at a monthly cost of $29 per account, developers can build a single app or as many as 100 apps using Zapstreak’s technology. Bielau also mentioned that its technology will work for Android devices running versions as early as 2.2, in addition to a growing list of supported devices that include more than 500 different types of TVs from manufacturers like Panasonic, Philips, and LG.
“Connected devices are selling like crazy…it will take time to have Miracast in the mainstream device distribution channels, I think it will get there no question. But what we’re really good at is adding TV sets or any other devices to our list of supported devices,” Bielau added.
However, it understands that it will need to continue to iterate and devote resources into developing its technologies, facing competition not just from Google, but others like Samsung which has its own AllShare SDK to enable content to be shared across its devices. Keeping the landscape in mind, it plans to release an SDK for both iOS and Windows phones by the end of the year. With its iOS SDK, users will be able to beam media without using Apple TV.
Zapstreak is also looking to tap into the mobile gaming market and is looking to release an update to its SDK which will allow game developers to build games where users can play on their smartphone, but have the sound beamed to their home entertainment system to provide a more immersive experience. It also plans to monetize via the data it collects from users, as Bielau believes it can provide valuable insights to electronics manufacturers to help build out their features and better market to consumers. If the company can focus on bringing on developers who want to build for existing devices, rather than the next round of Miracast-enabled Android devices, it should be able to find a large base of SDK users, and by extension end consumers.