In a perfect digital world, you will be able to watch high definition video on your PC in office, switch the stream to the smartphone or tablet as you step out, continue the same video in your car and finally let the home television finish it off as you come back from work. That perfect world, offering a perfect ‘continuum’ for all your content, is not far away. In fact, you can already see some links in the chain I mentioned above.
However, for this seamless interplay of content across devices, you will have to commit your loyalties. For the continuum is likely to be limited to circles created by companies, hardware and platforms. So you will have a Sony or Samsung ecosystem, or one that limits you to devices powered by Intel or running Windows or Apple’s operating systems. Yes, the circles will overlap, but how seamless that experience will be remains to be seen.
Most companies have already started packing in technologies that let devices talk and share content between themselves. There is DLNA, or the Digital Living Network Alliance, which is supported by most top brands; Intel’s Wireless Display or WiDi and Miracast, which is limited to wirelessly sharing video. The chances are that if you have recently bought a smartphone, tablet, laptop or entertainment console, it would have at least one of these options. It is becoming increasingly difficult to stay isolated or not have the ability to share their content.
BlackBerry took the Miracast plunge with its BB10.2 update. Explaining the move, BlackBerry India’s product manager Gautam Shah told me that with people moving towards a connected and ‘smart’ lifestyle, it is becoming extremely important for us to have a single-screen ecosystem which provides wireless and seamless connectivity across various appliances/devices.
Despite the ecosystem barriers, these new technologies will let many users share content across operating systems. But this will work better with photos, video and music, and when it comes to productivity the ecosystem will continue to be a barrier, as anyone who has worked at the same time with a Mac and Windows device will tell you.