Google today announced the creation of the Cast SDK, which enables developers to develop applications or to modify their applications to work with the Chromecast media streaming stick. Because Chromecast is now open to developers, Google has basically opened Pandora’s box on what they could theoretically enable application developers to do with the Chromecast streaming stick. The power of Google’s developer base cannot be underestimated when you look at the power of applications like Chrome and the developer base behind it or the Android OS and the developer base behind that.
Since basically no-one has delivered a promising answer to the home TV question yet, Google is hoping that their $35 streaming stick will temporarily satisfy consumers until TVs really become capable of accomplishing similar tasks as people’s smartphones, tablets or computers. The truth is that with Chromecast, you don’t have to buy an expensive Smart TV and overpay for a feature that half works on most TVs. With Chromecast you pay $35 and are able to harness the power of your smartphone, tablet or computer in order to deliver and stream content to your TV. Microsoft has come the closest to ‘ruling’ the living room, but their TV integration in the Xbox One is horrific at best right now and lacks a lot of the content and apps that would be necessary to really claim ownership to the livingroom/TV.
With the new Cast SDK, Google is opening up the Chromecast to developers after releasing it at an outrageously low price to consumers. At $35 Google has effectively made the Chromecast and Smart TV functionalities commoditized and virtually affordable to anyone that can afford a TV and a smartphone. I believe that the Chromecast’s price is probably a razor thin margin for Google because they are more interested in what the developers will be able to do with the Cast SDK and what kinds of applications for the TV could be developed. Google pretty much failed with Google TV (even though I liked it), but they look to redeem themselves here with Chromecast and may actually save face. It looks like Google realized that a hardware minimal approach was the right idea and to have really powerful software behind it instead, something that Google is famous for being able to do.