Chromecast and Moto X

I think I just saved $500 by spending $35.

I'll most likely be canceling my Xbox One subscription this week. It's not that I wouldn't love to have one — I loathe that aging, noisy beast that's currently in my living room. But it's getting harder and harder to justify that much money on some that's mostly been replaced by a $35 USB-powered dongle. No, I won't be playing hardcore games with it, and it doesn't get anywhere near replacing Kinect. But I think I'm going to be replacing my old Xbox with a cheap Blu-Ray player and calling it a day.

But maybe the most important part of Chromecast is one that's gotten short shrift in nearly every review I've read, including ours. Chromecast is in its infancy. Having an SDK — software development kit — means that anyone and everyone can essentially write an app for it. Koushik Dutta — the developer behind ClockwordMod recoveries and Helium backup (to name but two projects) has been teasing a few on Google+. Streaming local files from a phone or tablet. Streaming files from Dropbox. Streaming files from RSS (and wrapping them in individual channel UIs).

And that's just one developer.

Reviews of devices are great. But it's important to remember that Chromecast is just getting started, with the SDK currrently available as a developer preview. It'll be interesting to how the ecosystem grows. You can't yet distribute Chromecast apps. Will it be a walled garden? Wide open like Android? I imagine anything that plays alongside DRM-enabled apps like Netflix will have a bit of oversight along with it.

A few other thoughts on the week that was, and the week ahead ...

  • I'm getting the feeling that the Moto X is going to be a lot like the HTC One, where folks just aren't going to get some of the features until trying it, never mind how much we show them off.
  • Example One: All these cries of "Show the screen on time!" in this Google+ post. Never mind that part of the appeal of the Moto X is that you'll not be turning on the full display as often as you would any other phone.
  • A few more quick thoughts on Moto X. Love the size and the shape. The display is good, but not great. Not sold on the camera yet, or the camera app. Battery life seems to be pretty damn good. But when will manufacturers learn to under-promise and over-deliver?
  • But anyone who writes that the Moto X should launch with Android 4.3 because Google owns Motorola clearly has no idea how Android is distributed. Would I love to see that? Sure. But that's simply not the way things work.
  • Shifty Jelly is awesome.
  • I'm really happy to see that Google's bringing the ability to find lost phones — and wipe them if they're gone — to ordinary folks. That's long overdue. If you'll allow myself to quote myself, "It should be as easy to remove your life from your phone as it is to sync it there in the first place. It's that simple, and it's that important."
  • We've given away so much stuff lately, it's hard to keep track. But we've got so much more coming. NVIDIA sent along a whole mess of stuff for us to review with Shield, and that'll be coming your way, too. (Along with a couple extra Shields.) And we've got more new Nexus 7s, as well.
  • I'm headed back up to New York City this week for the LG G2 event. Fans overhyping phones is one thing — what LG does before launches these days is something else altogether. (Vienna Boys' Choir, anyone?) Still, should be a fun event, and LG's a fun company.
  • And Motorola should get some kudos for it's events in New York last week. A much more intimate briefing. Not quite one-on-one, and probably a bit hurried, but absolutely more useful than a overproduced presentation.
  • Talk Mobile's on its week off. Be back next week with some cloud talk, I think.

That's it for this week. Let's get to work.