WebRTC Comes to Mobile
With this technology delivery, the real impact of WebRTC can begin to be felt.
Over the last year, there has been a huge surge in interest in WebRTC and how it could change the telecommunications market. Some analyst reports have claimed that by the end of the year there will be over 1 billion WebRTC enabled devices in the market. In looking under the covers of those analyses, a significant portion of those devices are mobile. At the same time, one of the strongest negative comments has been the lack of true mobile integration into WebRTC. This has repeatedly been raised as the major potential barrier to adoption. Other than Ericsson's mobile "Bowser" implementation, so far WebRTC has been limited to PCs running the Chrome and Firefox browsers.
That all is beginning to change as Google announced the Beta release of Chrome 29, which will include support for WebRTC on Android devices. With Chrome release 29, Google is including WebRTC voice, video, and data channel services in all Android devices. Obviously, this is a move that has been anticipated, but it is also great to see the industry move forward. As someone who has been deciding whether to replace or upgrade my iPhone, having WebRTC and the plethora of new capabilities it opens on an Android device is probably a decision-maker.
In addition to the WebRTC support, Chrome 29 has enhanced support for the Web Audio API, though only on smartphone/tablet ARM devices that support NEON optimization--designed to use certain instructions on ARM chips that were introduced in the ARM Cortex-A8 processor. It also includes some new features for packaged apps.
However, for those of us that are following WebRTC, the advent of WebRTC in smartphones and tablets is now upon us. With this technology delivery, the real impact of WebRTC can begin to be felt, especially as there were 156 million Android devices shipped in Q1 2013 (per Gartner). Even without growth over the year, that means over 600M devices--factoring in some growth, more like 700-800 million Android devices shipped this year. And they should all be WebRTC ready by the end of the year.