By Harry McCracken | Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 9:08 am
Way back in June of 2008, Sling Media began showing off a version of its SlingPlayer software–which works with the company’s SlingBox gadget to route TV across the Internet–for the iPhone. It took another eleven months until the app went on sale. And when it did, it turned out that AT&T had prohibited Sling from letting it work over the 3G network. You could watch your TV from your iPhone, but only over Wi-Fi. At the time, I wrote:
Maybe I’m a wild-eyed optimist, but I’m hoping that Sling will eventually be permitted to add 3G support, and that those of us who have paid thirty bucks for this first version will get free upgrades.
Then I sort of forgot about the whole thing, since I rarely used the Wi-Fi version of the app. (In fact I stopped using my SlingBox much, period–I still can’t figure out why the iPhone version was verboten but the Windows Mobile one was OK..) But I hadn’t hoped in vain. Today, AT&T and Sling issued a joint press release saying that the 3G version of the app now passes muster. It’ll be available (and a free upgrade to existing customers) once Apple approves it.
“Just as we’ve worked with Sling Media in this instance, we look forward to collaborating with other developers so that mobile customers can access a wider, more bandwidth-sensitive, and powerful range of applications in the future,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Collaboration with developers like Sling Media ensures that all apps are optimized for our 3G network to conserve wireless spectrum and reduce the risk that an app will cause such extreme levels of congestion that they disrupt the experience of other wireless customers. Our focus continues to be on delivering the nation’s most advanced mobile broadband experience and giving our customers the widest possible array of mobile applications.”
Good news, even if the process moved at a glacial pace. Presumably there are some interesting possibilities for video applications that developers didn’t even bother to consider after Sling was forced to hobble the original version of SlingPlayer. Now writing them won’t seem like a pointless exercise.