Android Responsible for Unresolved Mobile Video Issues?

News Article - Monday, 22 April 2013 12:13

By: Kerry Butters Category: Connectivity

Whilst new research from Cisco indicates that video accounted for more than half of mobile traffic last year, according to a report from TechCrunch, people are still missing out on "tremendous opportunities to make money”.

This is because, at the moment, "the mobile landscape is too fragmented and frustrating and this, the reports says, is mainly due to Android. However, the problem goes deeper than mobile operating systems, as many of the "power players” are refusing to work together and adopt universal standards.

According to Cisco "two thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2017”. In the final quarter of 2012, 91% of all smartphones shipped were made up of Android and iOS, an IDC reports shows, but more advanced video functionality varies wildly from one handset to another.

In particular, Android remains a "very fragmented platform”, whilst Apple and iOS has continued to push "the mobile envelope”. This means that Android still remains very much a work in progress when it comes to video.

The Android platform still has limited support for HLS, which is not supported by default browser Chrome and whilst in the past this could be worked around with Flash, lack of support today means this is no longer possible.

Not only has this left a gaping hole in Android’s video playback capability, but it has also made the overall mobile video delivery picture a lot more complex.

This means that mobile video standards must be consolidated and unified and one standard that looks promising for the future at the moment is MPEG-DASH. However, it may be some time before this is supported across the entire mobile ecosystem.

Whilst it would be easier and faster for HLS, companies such as Google and Microsoft are wary of adopting a standard that is controlled by Apple, to all extents and purposes. For the most part, this is due to Google’s refusal to adopt a unified standard, meaning that mobile video adoption could be problematic for some time to come.

It’s likely that we will see an increase in video again this year as the leading telecoms companies are all due to introduce 4G, which is on average 19 times faster than 3G.

Android continues to be the world’s favourite operating system, so unless something is agreed soon on some kind of unification, then we could be in for a long wait.

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