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Google Launches Chromecast's Most Important Phase

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Google releases the developer kit for the Chromecast, allowing thousands to support the popular device.

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Here's where things start getting interesting.

Over six months ago, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) released an unassuming $35 HDMI dongle to the public. Small in size and features yet notable in ease and simplicity, the Chromecast won over consumers with its dead-simple interface, compatibility with Android, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Windows (NASDAQ:MSFT) machines, and exceptionally small price tag, becoming one of the best-selling products for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and appearing on many analysts' Best of 2013 lists. (See: Google's Chromecast: My Favorite Gadget of 2013)

Although sales and interest have been strong, the Chromecast continues to be limited in app support. Streaming video staples like YouTube and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) have been there from the beginning, but other services like Pandora (NYSE:P), Hulu Plus, Plex, and Songza have only been trickling in -- leaving competing media centers like Apple TV and Roku with bragging rights for their greater number of features.

Well, that's all going to change as Google has finally released the Google Cast Software Development Kit (SDK) to the public, essentially opening the doors for developers to add Chromecast support to their apps -- which includes a hefty number of high-profile services that have expressed interest in supporting Google's HDMI stick.

And unlike Apple TV and Roku apps, developers don't need to rewrite an entire app to support the Chromecast system. As it is for the end user, the device is incredibly simple for the app maker as well.

And already we're beginning to see support begin to roll in. Less than 24 hours after the SDK was released, developer Koushik Dutta updated his AllCast app which can now stream content from an Android phone directly to a TV sporting a Chromecast. Dutta's app had previously been able to cast to the Google device until the company effectively patched a hole in the software that Dutta exploited in order for the app to work as intended. But with the SDK released, everything's on the up-and-up.

The public should start seeing a flood of Chromecast icons on their favorite apps and services very soon. Aereo, Vimeo, Simple.TV, Twitch.tv, PlayOn, Pocket Casts, and countless others are reportedly ready to go with Chromecast support. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Now the fun begins.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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