While I’m not quite ready to speculate on Sling Media’s future retail presence and hardware initiatives, in light of recent defections, we do have a few clues as to their current mobile strategy.
SlingPlayer Mobile (SPM), which enables you to watch your home television programming on the go currently supports numerous devices, including many running Windows Mobile, PalmOS, and Symbian, for a $30 one time fee. Their Blackberry client is currently available as a public beta. Unfortunately, for some, only GSM handsets are supported at the moment. But I believe Sling will also get software running acceptably on the Storm. We also know Sling hopes to submit the frequently-requested iPhone app (above) to Apple for approval early this year (Q1). Of course, there’s no guarantee Apple will permit 3G streaming – they’ve been inconsistent in how they’ve handled other video apps – and we don’t yet know Sling’s pricing strategy given Apple’s hefty 30% cut.
As has been pointed out, the actual development information hasn’t been released yet so it is premature to be talking about development. From what we have seen it looks like webOS is an all-new environment, so it would need an all-new SPM which would not be a small task. At this time we’re taking a wait and see approach to webOS. When it ships we’ll watch the adoption rate and decide if it warrants developing SPM for webOS or not. Keep in mind it has currently been announced for one device (the Pre) on one carrier (#3 and currently falling) so it remains to be seen if and when it appears on additional devices and carriers for the worldwide market and achieves a significant market share.
In the past Sling Media and Palm have worked closely. In fact, back in my Sling days I attended a few events with Palm and SPM was featured on their website. I understand the business case MZ is making, but it’s also critical to look ahead and predict a successful platform… and region. (ie: The dev cycles spent producing UIQ support probably hasn’t paid off.) While there’s no guarantee Palm will succeed with WebOS, they’ve got a ton of buzz, a ton of investment, and a positive track record in this space. If I were Sling, I’d be banging down Palm’s doors for an opportunity to collaborate.
If WebOS isn’t next we can probably guess which mobile OS is. MZ kindly confirms:
The next logical platform is Android, which we’re already taking a strong look at. Unlike webOS, Android already has multiple announced devices with commitments from several major device makers for even more, with carriers lined up world-wide.
While I’ve seen many announcements, I’ve only seen one commercially available device. And, in addition to sales numbers, Sling needs to analyze the demographics behind those phones and their software purchasing trends. However, I’ve been telling Sling for years they should consider a Linux client if they’d be able to efficiently port it to multiple platforms… Like Unbuntu, Nokia N810, Android, etc. – which might even form the basis for a WebOS solution. AND more embedded devices.