MyDP could transform mobile devices into replacement PCs

Mobile DisplayPort standard lets users stream HD content from mobile devices to displays via USB

Today's higher-end mobile devices rival some desktop machines in their ability to stream high-definition video and audio, display 3D content, and support enterprise-worthy applications. But those capabilities aren't especially useful when you're limited to finger-tapping and swiping on an eyestraining 4-inch touchscreen.

A newly unveiled standard, dubbed Mobile DisplayPort (MyDP for short), could help users unleash pent-up mobile processing power and transform smartphones and tablets from PC supplements into viable PC replacements. It lets users stream high-definition video, audio, and 3D content -- 1080p full HD resolution, 24-bit color, and 60Hz -- from their mobile devices to any type of display via a standard micro-USB connector.

According to VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association), the group behind the standard, MyDP lets you easily connect a supported device to a larger external DisplayPort or HDMI-equipped display, such as a PC monitor or HDTV. Users also are able to connect to legacy DVI and VGA displays, projectors, and TVs through the use of MyDP adapters and active converters.

The MyDP interface includes a 1Mbps sideband channel that provides enough bandwidth to support accessory functions, including multitouch, keyboard, mouse, and remote control, according to VESA. Also noteworthy: Users will be able to charge their mobile device battery, drawing power from the display through the MyDP cable.

Adding MyDP support to smartphones and tablets doesn't add cost or complexity, according to Bill Lempesis, executive director of VESA.

If widely adopted, the standard could help Android and Windows Phone devices catch up with those from Apple. The company offers screen mirroring and media output through its proprietary dock connector and AirPlay streaming, and it's been using VESA's Mini DisplayPort technology in Macs for several years.

The implications of MyDP could prove interesting when (or if) the standard shows up in forthcoming Windows Phone 8 devices. (According to VESA, MyDP is backed by "a large ecosystem of the leading technology companies," but the group would not provide names.) Microsoft recently revealed that Windows Phone 8 has the same kernel as Windows 8; as such, Windows users may find that all they need to do their jobs is a single MyDP-capable WP8 smartphone or tablet. They could get at their files, data, and Windows apps on the go, as well as connect the device to a docking station when they need the full Windows desktop experience. A user might, for instance, create a graphic- and video-intensive PowerPoint presentation on a device at home, then connect that device directly to a projector in the office to show the presentation.

That's not to say Android users won't enjoy similar opportunities when the technology makes it onto Android devices - though it may take a while: According to VESA, after DisplayPort or MyDP output is added to the hardware, the OS would still need to be upgraded with the capability. Apple users, too, will benefit (sooner) from the ability to stream HDTV-quality video and audio to a display while drawing battery charge from the display.

This story, "MyDP could transform mobile devices into replacement PCs," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.