Wednesday, September 30, 2015 3:35 pm
Apple used a flashy stage show this month to lay out a vision for how it wants to take over your living room. Now it is Google’s turn.
Google on Tuesday revealed two new Chromecast streaming devices — one for televisions, another for speakers — along with a new tablet computer and a pair of new devices from the company’s Nexus line of Android mobile phones.
Much like Apple, Google is pushing a future where televisions become a vessel for the Internet and channels are replaced with apps. But instead of having separate devices for music and TV, Google has tried to position the mobile phone as the centre of everything — a kind of remote control for life
Enter Chromecast, Google’s popular streaming device that beams content from mobile phones to TVs via the Internet. The idea is pretty much the same as Apple TV, but Apple TV costs $149 and is essentially a small computer with lots of storage for apps to run on a television. Chromecast costs $35 and is just a waypoint between TVs and phones.
Your favorite apps, with all of the rich features, they’re already on your phone. You’re already logged in,” said Mario Queiroz, Google’s vice president of product management for Chromecast. “And so we believe one really and effective way to bring apps to TV, to bring content through apps to TV, is just to extend the mobile apps on your smartphone.”
The field of streaming devices has become crowded — Amazon and Roku make similar products. To distinguish itself from those stick-shaped competitors, Google’s new Chromecast is about the size and shape of a silver dollar.
Google also announced that it had sold 20 million Chromecast devices and that it was now compatible with thousands of apps, including Netflix and HBO Now. For a company whose spotty hardware record includes Google Glass, the much-maligned Internet glasses, and Nexus Q, a streaming device that was never released, Chromecast is a huge success.
So Google is expanding it. On Tuesday, the company also announced Chromecast Audio, a new line of Chromecast devices that plug directly into speakers and receive music sent from a phone. Google simultaneously announced a new partnership with Spotify, the popular music-streaming app that is in a battle with Apple’s new Apple Music offering.
“We also believe that the cast model that we’ve come up with, since it’s smartphone-centric, works just as well for sending content to a speaker as it does sending content to a TV,” Mr. Queiroz said.
Google unveiled the new Chromecast devices Tuesday morning at an event at a San Francisco photography studio.
Sundar Pichai, Google’s new chief executive, started the event with several new statistics about Android and Chrome. There are now 1.4 billion active Android devices, up from one billion a year ago, he said.
Android has achieved that kind of scale “by investing in large open ecosystems, which we build with everyone,” he said.
Price was also a selling point for Google’s new line of Nexus phones. The smaller Nexus 5X, manufactured by LG, is just over five inches long and has an ultrasensitive camera that is designed to work better indoors, where people take most of their pictures. It starts at $379 for an entry-level phone without a contract.
*Originally Published by New York Times