Google has decided to take on the AppleTV with a low-cost option, introducing the Google Chromecast dongle.
Despite its $35 price tag, it’s a somewhat interesting single-function design that will work with any HDMI-ready big-screen TV and allow media streaming from an Android phone or tablet. The hardware itself is surprisingly basic.
The CPU is a Marvell DE3005-A1 SoC CPU, however, there is absolutely nothing on the web about this chip. The closest thing Marvell refers to is its Armada 1500 (88DE3100), a 1.2GHz dual-core media application processor designed for this sort of application. Marvell describes the 88DE3100 as ‘ARMv7-compatible‘ but that helps us zilch here.
Thanks to iFixit’s Chromecast teardown, we know the dongle also features 512MB of DDR3 RAM and 2GB of Micron flash. There’s no external storage option and the microUSB port is for power only. Its 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 functions come thanks to Azurewave’s AW-NH387 Wi-Fi/BT/FM combo chip.
The iFixit team pulled the dongle apart with little more than a plastic tool similar to that used to pry open Apple iPhone cases for replacing the Lithium-ion batteries.
On the whole, we think Chromecast looks not too disimilar in function to Rockchip’s own $10 Miracast dongle it showed off recently, packing in a single-core RK2928 SoC CPU. It turns out that functionally, these two devices are quite different with Chromecast plugging into your Wi-Fi network and using your smartphone or tablet more as a remote control whereas Rockchip’s Miracast dongle creates a Bluetooth-like peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connection with a Miracast-compatible smartphone or tablet which streams video/audio content directly to the Miracast dongle.
If you’re after a single-function device for direct-streaming of media from the web, Chromecast would do the job. But with Android 4.2 now supporting Miracast, we wonder if there are enough mini PCs out there that would likely do something very similar. The bonus is instead of a stripped-down ChromeOS, you’d get the full Android 4.2 OS experience will all 800,000+ apps at your disposal with a mini PC.
|Clock||Up to TBC|
|Operating system||Google ChromeOS|
|Wi-Fi connectivity||Azurewave AW-NH387 802.11b/g/n|
|No./type of USB ports||No|
|HDMI form factor||Yes|
|Announce Date||July 2013|
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