Chromecast boasts 400 million casts as it celebrates its 1 year mark w/ 3 months of free Google Play Music All Access

Chromecast 1st birthday

Happy birthday, Chromecast! That’s what Google is saying today as it announced the HDMI media streaming stick has been used to cast content 400 million times in the 12 months since it launched. The Chromecast, of course, allows you to stream content from services like Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora to your HDTV from your Android or iOS as well as your computer via the Chrome browser.

We’ve added hundreds of your favorite apps, including WatchESPN, Pandora, Hulu Plus, HBO GO and PBS Kids; announced new features like mirroring your Android device to the TV and expanded to 30,000 stores across 20 countries.

That’s certainly a lot of casting from the $35 accessory, and Google is giving all Chromecast users 90 days of its Google Play Music All Access service for free to celebrate. The offer to redeem 3 months of free access to the $9.99/month music subscription service will run from today, July 24th, through September 30th, for all existing Chromecast customers not already subscribed to All Access. Read more

New Google Fiber TV box passes through the FCC

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Google’s Fiber internet and TV services are scarce to say the least, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t working on making improvements to its platform before expanding it to bigger markets. The folks at Zatz Not Funny have uncovered a recent FCC filing for what appears to be a second-generation Fiber TV set-top box. While the listing is light on details, it does reveal that model number GFHD200 is loaded with connectivity options, including 802.11 ac/n WiFi, 10/100 Ethernet, MoCA, Bluetooth and HDMI 1.4.

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Dell announces new $130 HDMI dongle that brings Android to any display

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After witnessing the success of dongles like the Chomecast, Dell has just unveiled its latest accessory, the Wyse Cloud Connect dongle. This accessory will run $130 and be able to connect to any display that offers an HDMI or MHL port. Once the Cloud Connect is connected to the display, users can connect keyboards and mice to it via BlueTooth or mini USB. There’s also a microSD card slot with support for up to 32GB of local storage. The big selling point, however, is that its powered by Android, Jelly Bean to be exact, and offers the full experience on the connected display. Users will have access to the Play Store and all compatible apps within it.

Dell is also touting that the Cloud Connect dongle can remotely access Mac OS X and Windows PCs via Citrix, Microsoft or VMWare virtualization technologies. This option will offer the same experience that we’ve expected with remote access services, but on a larger display and only a small, flash-drive sized dongle. Both the Android and OS X/Windows interfaces will be presented in 1080p quality.

Although, it’s important to note that Dell is main market with the Cloud Connect is businesses and schools. The Cloud Connect management dashboard allows IT administrators to set permissions and easily control what the end user can and cannot access. So this means that things like the Play Store could be heavily restricted for users.

The Wyse Cloud Connect is available on Dell’s website for $130.

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Samsung launches Smartphone GamePad ready for its Galaxy lineup of devices

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Samsung’s riding the Android game train all the way to the bank with the introduction of the new Smartphone GamePad and Mobile Console app. The GamePad and app are made specifically to “enhance the gaming experience on Samsung’s popular line of Galaxy devices. Launched in response to the rapidly expanding global mobile gaming market, Smartphone GamePad provides consumers with a fun, convenient, and advanced gaming experience anytime, anywhere.”

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Chromecast users can now stream Google Play movies and music direct from the web

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If you have a Chromecast stick and have purchased movies or music from Google Play, you no longer need to cast them to your TV from your smartphone or tablet – you can now do it directly from the Chrome browser on your PC.

Make sure you have the Google Cast extension installed on your Chrome web browser (http://goo.gl/nzbB6t), and then look for the Cast icon in the Google Play web player. Click it and your movie or song will instantly start playing on your TV through Chromecast …  Read more

Dell to join Acer, HP and Samsung as a Chromebook manufacturer in January

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Microsoft’s renewed nervousness about Chromebooks was likely influenced by advance knowledge of Dell’s announcement that it would be joining Acer, HP and Samsung in manufacturing the ultraportable laptops in January.

The machine will have a Celeron 2955U processor, a choice of 2GB or 4GB RAM and 16GB of flash storage. The screen will be an 11-inch 1366×768 display with 720p front-facing webcam. You’ll get two USB 3 sockets plus HDMI in a case less than an inch thick and weighing under three pounds. Battery-life is said to be around 10 hours …  Read more