Alongside all the hardware fun that we saw some new features hit the second release of Jelly Bean, 4.2. Alot of it was polish however, there are some additions that bring Android at the forefront of mobile tech once again. Amongst these is the ability to mirror your display with a compatible device, using Miracast. A technology that beams your display over WiFi, making it really easy to share what’s on your display with a compatible device. Of course, there have been technologies to do this in the past, such as Intel’s WiDi – Wireless Display – tech and the most prevalent technology at the moment is DLNA – Digital Living Network Alliance. Apple of course, have their own thing going on with AirPlay, making the whole thing a minefield of differing technologies that are mostly inoperable between each other.
This is, of course, quite a problem if you’re a device manufacturer as they have more than one choice to go for. It’s easy for those out there that want to provide support for iUsers as there is only one standard, AirPlay in use for iOS devices. However, when it comes to Android, there are more than one on offer and it’s a tough game to play, you either build in DLNA, Miracast or sell an adaptor later on but, whichever route you take you could end up with less users taking advantage of this added feature.
Google however, have now built in Miracast into Android’s 4.2 flavor of Jelly Bean. Bringing with it a standard base for wireless screen mirroring. The standard was developed by the WiFi Alliance and built around WiFi Direct, making it possible that any device that supports WiFi Direct will also support Miracast. It’s certainly looking good for Google and their slow crawl into the living rooms all over the world, after the failed attempt with the Nexus Q it looks like Miracast could be more successful.
Making it a feature of software, rather than hardware is going to make it easy for device partners to roll it in their products and ensure access no matter what skin you’re running on top of Android 4.2. Miracast is going to be built in to TVs soon and through simple HDMI adapters that are coming soon it enables any TV or even PC Monitors to access the technology and it’s going to have a place in business and the home alike. To me, this seems like another solid step into the living room of the future for Google, with Microsoft getting and closer to closing the door altogether on everyone else Google need to make sure to put their foot in the door before that happens.