Chromecast – A dongle of gold?

Google had an event yesterday to show of an update to Android, a new Nexus 7 tablet and their new dongle based service – Chromecast. Like many involved in mobile I was intrigued and looking from the outside Chromecast looked and was demoed as a competitor for Apple’s AirPlay. In reality however it turns out not to be.

After the dust settled and the  event aura fades what we are looking at is a new way to control web content from a mobile device to display it on your TV. It should be pointed our that we are talking about your old TV – the non-smart one – because this technology already works on my Sony Smart TV. So the Chormecast dongle looks set to only be required by those with older TVs and it only controls content streamed from the YouTube.

The viability and possible use case for such a device are already diminished already, even given it’s $35 price-tag. If YouTube is being positioned as a new ‘broadcaster’ then maybe this has potential – but it is a far cry from being able to offer the kind of functionality that AirPlay can. Why? Well it is in essence just a controller. There is nothing being sent from the device – no content at least –  just commands. This is not quite the attractive solution it was made out to be nor is it in any real way competition for Apple’s AirPlay. AirPlay offers the ability to stream content from your device, mirror the display of your Mac or iOS device, be used for dual screen games AND stream audio to and from a range of devices. Chromecast does none of these, so for $35 you can turn your Smart Device into a remote control for YouTube. That’s it.

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