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By 25 July 2013 | Categories: news

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A new Nexus 7 and a fresh coat of paint on its Android Jelly Bean OS weren’t the only developments Google unveiled of late. The company also revealed its answer to Apple’s AirPlay in the form of Chromecast.

The device, which is essentially a dongle that occupies a TV’s HDMI port, then enables users to stream online multimedia content to their TV from a multitude of devices, including their tablets, smartphones and notebooks.  In essence, this would transform any TV with an HDMI input into a smart TV.  

According to Google, the low cost device, which goes for $35 (R325), works with YouTube, Google Play movies, TV and music, as well as Netflix.

Cast and call

The company elaborated that once Chromecast is set up, viewers can simultaneously ‘cast’ their media to their TV and still use their device independently of the cast to send emails, surf the web and otherwise watch whatever happens to be playing on the TV with one eye.

Furthermore, the dongle is aimed at allowing users to project any browser tab opened in Chrome to their TV. Finally, Google stressed that Chromecast is platform agnostic, meaning that it would get along just fine with Android tablets and smartphones, as well as iPhones, iPads and Chrome on Mac and Windows notebooks.

This is refreshingly open minded, particularly since content and device locking seems to have become a little too commonplace in recent years (yes, Amazon Kindle Fire, and iTunes Store, we are looking at you).

To the point

Nonetheless, Google’s effort to make any TV instantly smarter is certainly laudable. If only the brains at the company could figure out how to do the same to certain high profile reality TV celebrities and officials involved in delivering public services, now that would be something.  

At present though, the dongle has only launched in the US, and apparently, has been snapped up at record speed. Sadly for those of us currently on another continent, the device is not quite so easily available as yet.

A quick visit to the Google Play store reveals this message: Sorry! Devices on Google Play is not available in your country yet. We're working to bring devices to more countries as quickly as possible. Please check back again soon.

In the meantime though, you can take a gander at the video below to see Chromecast in action.

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