July 24, 2013
Google Tries To Break Into The Living Room Again With Chromecast
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
As competitors Apple and Microsoft work behind the scenes to perfect their allegedly upcoming TV offerings, Google has just announced their newest entrant into the streaming market. Chromecast is a thumb drive-sized device that plugs into an HDMI port in the back of your existing television. Any Google device, Android or Chrome, can then stream content directly to the television without the need to buy a new television or set top box. The tiny, two-inch stick also runs a "simplified version" of Google's other operating system, Chrome.
Once plugged into the television, Android or Chrome laptops, smartphones or tablets can then stream content from the cloud. The host device, such as a smartphone, then becomes a remote for the Chromecast. Google's newest device will cost $35 and will be available online on Amazon and the Google Play store by July 28. As an incentive to buy, Google is also offering three months of free Netflix service to new buyers. The device will also stay up to date automatically to work with those apps that bake the new SDK into their source code.
This isn't Google's first foray into the streaming television market. In 2010, Google announced Google TV, a set-top box that would arrive in partnership with companies like Intel, Logitech and Sony. Though these devices still exist and are offered through several other companies, the platform has failed to take off in the way some executives might have wished. In November 2011, Logitech Chairman of the Board and CEO Guerrino De Luca called his company's launch of their Google TV-branded Revue "a mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature" in an analyst and investor's meeting. The company said it lost more than $100 million in operating profits to get Google TV off the ground. The following month, Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt was undaunted by Logitech's statements. During an interview at the LeWeb conference in Paris, Schmidt made the bold claim that "By the summer of 2012, the majority of the televisions you see in stores will have Google TV embedded."
Google missed the high mark set in place by Schmidt, but they did announce another streaming product last summer in the Nexus Q. The spherical orb connected to a home entertainment system and could stream content from the Google Play store or YouTube. Its high price of $299, two hundred dollars more expensive than Apple's Apple TV, helped to make the product dead on arrival as soon as it became available to customers.
Chromecast is still operating in beta mode, but Google plans to roll out updates quickly. For instance, as noted by ZDnet, Google claims the Chromecast will allow Chomebook users to launch a browser tab from the laptop and beam it to the television. Though this feature works, there is a bit of a time delay between launching the tab and having it appear on the screen. The Chromecast plugs easily enough into the HDMI port in the back of a television, but it gets its power from an external power supply using a USB power adapter. That means while the device will work in the HDMI port, it will inevitably need to be charged by a USB port via an included cord.