My Twitter stream is currently divided fairly equally between my Android/Google friends who fell instantly in love with the new Chromecast streaming video dongle, and my Apple friends who fell instantly in love with mocking it. At their nexus is Erica Sadun, a longtime Apple writer and coder extraordinaire, with more than a passing familiarity with video streaming. She seemed downright excited by the Chromecast, as is typically her wont. And she spared no time getting into the whys and wherefores on TUAW:
So where do I expect Chromecast to succeed? For travel -- both business and personal.
Sadun makes an interesting case, and wonders out-loud whether or not Apple might ever consider a similar Apple TV Express-type dongle for the same niche. Sadun wouldn't be Sadun, however, without immediately jumping into the Chromecast SDK and poking around for potential. Check out her Dev Juice column, also on TUAW.
Personally, I think my Android/Google friends have been overly positive, and my Apple friends way too negative about the Chromecast. Like most things, the value seems to lie in the middle. Every device is a compromise, and every choice comes with an opportunity cost. Chromecast solves one problem - getting internet video easily and inexpensively onto the TV - and it does it in a small package that's, for good for for ill, utterly dependent on the possession of a larger, smarter, controller device. That'll either make it the iPod shuffle of TV streamers, or the buttonless iPod shuffle of TV streamers.
If the size, either disappearing into your home theater setup or your pocket on a road trip, or the low, low price appeal to you, and you don't need an Apple TV (or another Apple TV), Chromecast might be the former. If you're looking for a more complete product, likely the latter. Same is true with the Apple TV if you really want and need an Xbox One.
Lots of choices, and more all the time. So check out what Sadun's been up to, and let me know what you think.