To adapt to the multi-screen world, Google has introduced a single point of unification, Chrome OS, embedded in a hardware-based adapter called Chromecast. The device is a two-inch wireless receiver that plugs into TVs, through the HDMI port, to stream content from the cloud, from mobile devices or from personal computers.
Google added to the multitude of screens with the simultaneous introduction of a high-resolution version of its Nexus 7. The tablet ships with Android 4.3, a revised version of Android 4.2 known as Jelly Bean.
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"Unlike other solutions, we will not force you to have the same OS on all your devices," said Mario Queiroz, VP of product management.
That's a reference to Apple. As a technological bridge from mobile device screens to television screens, Chromecast competes primarily with Apple's AirPlay software and $99 Apple TV hardware. Although Apple has an edge over Google in installed base — the company has sold over 13 million Apple TV devices to date — Google has blunted that edge through pricing: The Chromecast is available for a mere $35.
The Chromecast works with Android 2.3+, iOS 6.0+, Windows 7+, Mac OS 10.7+ and Chromebook Pixel, with additional Chromebook support coming soon. It transmits video content at up to 1080p resolution via its HDMI port and draws power through its USB port via the connected device or an external power adapter. It supports 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n.