AT&T and Apple’s arbitrary decision to forbid the streaming media iPhone app SlingPlayer to be allowed to operate over 3G, for fear of saturating AT&T’s network, was—if I may adopt the tenor of a business analyst here—super douchey. Eliot Van Buskirk sums up the situation tidily.
But considering that Sling Media offered weak excuses about why its older models did not fully support the $30 application—did I mention it’s a $30 iPhone application?—it doesn’t sound like it’s much of a loss. The planned obsolescence would be more forgivable if the iPhone app were free.
I actually understand AT&T’s hesitancy to approve this use of their fragile 3G network, as horribly short-sighted as it may be, but the hoops they jump through to try to justify it are typically gymnastic:
“Applications like this, which redirect a TV signal to a personal computer, are specifically prohibited under our terms of service,” stated AT&T. “We consider smartphones like the iPhone to be personal computers in that they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs.”
However, this policy is obviously inconsistent. Owners of the Samsung Blackjack, Motorola Q, Blackberry, and other smartphones are able to stream Slingbox content over AT&T’s 3G network. Only Sling’s iPhone app is crippled in this way.