Yesterday I focused on the limitations of the Evo 4G’s HDMI out. A quick recap, the two major faults with the HDMI out implementation on the Evo are the lack of full system output to your HDTV and a cap on the frames per second (30 fps) regardless of whether the HDMI is being utilized.
The Motorola Droid X was the second Android multimedia powerhouse. If looking purely at specifications you would think that these two phones in some aspects evenly matched. Both have 4.3 inch screens, 1Ghz processors, and HDMI out.
The Droid X has some strengths that give it somewhat of an edge over the Evo. First and foremost, the implementation of HDMI seems to have been thought out better. Also the Droid X offers DLNA output on top of the HDMI out. This at least allows the consumer to stream their movies and music to DLNA certified hardware. There are no pesky frame rate caps during general use of the phone. However, with the stock settings it can only output pictures and videos that you have taken with your phone. As stated in the www.blogtalkradio.com/motodev Q&A session June 29th 2010 with Motorola about the Droid X, in answer to the question asked at the 29:00 mark, “The only time that we are enabling the HDMI driver on the device is when you are in the gallery mode. […] The HDMI driver is not active any time outside the gallery,” where the “gallery mode” is the included photo/video viewer. In the XDA forums a Motorola representative was quoted as stating “licensing is what will prevent this thing from being turned on when it hits consumers hands.” XDA member sp1kez said it best, “There is no point in the HDMi at all if you can only use it for your pictures and your videos from the phone’s camera.”
In a move that was perhaps unfair to general consumers the Droid X was displayed at a Motorola media event showing Verizon’s NFL Mobile App on an HDTV. The explanation that I read was that this was more than likely a pre-release version of the phone and not the one that shipped out to consumers. Unfortunately events like this tend to create more confusion and cause people to question what is going on with their phone.
Clearly at some point it was possible for other applications, and not only the built-in gallery mode, to output via HDMI out. So the question is why is HDMI out limited on this device? Is it hardware or software? Is it because Motorola realized that they would also have to cap the frame rates of the Droid X just as HTC “had to” with the Evo 4G? Or is this all due to licensing and DRM? If it happens to be the case that HDMI out is “fully” supported in the Droid X then is there a solution?
Part Three – HDMI out – We’re doing it wrong Right
Stay tuned, tomorrow I will do my best to share the solutions that are available as well as try to shed some light on what solutions are being worked on in regards to the Evo 4G in a future release of CyanogenMod.