CES: Qualcomm Wants Gadgets to 'AllPlay' Together

Gary Brotman of Qualcomm Demonstrates AllPlay, a technology standard introduced at CES 2014 to allow consumers to wirelessly control all their entertainment devices via an app.

Photo: Alex Pham

The goal of being able to wirelessly control all of your home's entertainment devices via a mobile app took one step closer to reality Monday as technology giant Qualcomm Inc. unveiled its AllPlay technology standard at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 

AllPlay is first being introduced in the whole home audio sector, one currently occupied by Sonos as well as high-end custom audio companies. The company is expected to expand the standard to video and other media in the coming year, said Gary Brotman, Qualcomm's Director of Product Marketing.

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In a product demonstration, Brotman used an app on a tablet to direct speakers in separate zones to begin streaming music from an online music service. Listeners also can adjust the volume for each speaker, or set different playlists for each separate zone for up to 10 zones. Party guests who have the app on their devices could, once given a password by the host, jump in and add or modify the playlist. The technology uses wi-fi to connect and control devices, either through the home's router or directly to speakers that have built-in wi-fi chips or adapters. The technology works similarly to AirPlay, but whereas AirPlay only works with Apple products, AllPlay can be incorporated into all devices.

AllPlay only works when both the music service and the devices have the technology built into them. As a result, Qualcomm is expected to devote much of this year to recruiting services and device manufacturers to license AllPlay. Music services that have agreed to adopt AllPlay include iHeartRadio, Rhapsody, SomaFM, Grooveshark, TuneIn and doubleTwist. Manufacturers that adopt AllPlay into their speakers include Panasonic, Altec Lansing, Lenco, Medion and Musaic.

"With the increasing popularity of connected devices, it's important to deliver technologies that allow users to seamlessly access the content," said Brian Lakamp, President of Digital for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, "... making Qualcomm’s AllPlay smart media platform a perfect fit."