Google unveiled their newest product, Chromecast, this past Wednesday. The dongle allows users to wirelessly stream content from the cloud to their TV, much like a Bluetooth device. With Chromecast, you can use your phone, tablet or computer to pull content from Netflix, YouTube and GooglePlay. The device also provides access to the Internet through Google Chrome.
Chromecast works with any Android or iOS device (both phones and tablets) as well as PC or Mac computers. Your phone, tablet or computer acts as a remote to browse shows to watch, control playback and adjust volume. This flexibility in devices that can be used as remotes gives the new dongle an advantage over competitors like Apple TV and Roku. The most enticing factor, however, is the low $35 price, which makes Chromecast far less expensive than other devices.
While the technology behind Chromecast is incredibly exciting, giving users the ability to take content from one device and view it on another without the use of an HDMI cable, it’s not incredibly novel. Many of the other devices soon to be on the market in this area will provide essentially the same technology. Samsung will likely be coming out with new televisions that incorporate this same sort of wireless connectivity sometime within this year.
Despite the similarity to much of what was shown at CES this year, it’s Chromecast’s inexpensiveness and readiness that have made it so popular after less than a week on the market. Initially, the device was being sold with the inclusion of a three-month Netflix subscription, which, in addition to providing users a nice perk, showed that Netflix has given Google it’s stamp of approval. While the Netflix subscription was a great addition to Chromecast’s low price, the speed at which the device sold out on both Amazon.com and at Best Buy led Google to cut the Netflix promotion.
Chromecast’s release is likely part of a marketing ploy on Google’s part; however, it clearly appears to have paid off. Though the device has a relatively limited app selection, which almost entirely includes programs only run by Google, and is very similar to other technologies either already available or soon to be available, it’s been received incredibly well so far.
Chromecast is now only available for purchase on GooglePlay, and as demand grows for the limited item, Google will be working to update the device further. Google has also released the Google Cast developer kit, which will help companies like Pandora create Chromecast compatible apps to be added to the roster later. It seems the already overwhelmingly popular device will continue to draw interest as it develops further.