Initial impressions of Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast was easy to set up as many people have said online. I configured mine from my Android phone (JB 4.3). However as Chromecast has not been officially released internationally the Chromecast app was not available in PlayStore (when accessing in Singapore); this app was eventually found in a link on XDA forum which is not ideal from a security perspective. By the way the equivalent Chromecast app was available on iTunes store but I stuck to the Android app because iOS route seems to involve a few more steps so I decided on going the simpler route.

The concept of Chromecast is simple and brilliant. After your device – be it an iOS or Android device, or even a PC as long as they are on the same network – has done the necessary handshaking with some cloud-based service, such as YouTube, Netflix or Google TV content, the final step is taken over by Chromecast, bypassing the original device. Since I don’t have a Netflix account, my testing involved only streaming of YouTube content – console game reviews actually 🙂 . While I already own an Android-based media player, the Veolo 2 from AC Ryan, to search, select and queue clips from YouTube on my iPad (and presumably on other Android tablets and phones) is a vastly superior experience to doing the same using the air mouse to navigate and keying in the search terms. A touch interface directly in front of you is simply more intuitive and accurate than waving a mouse on the screen some distance away from my experience.

A second aspect which I think Chromecast has an advantage over other streaming-type gadgets (and I include most network media players), basically any app (mobile or otherwise) which is Cast-compatible can make use of the device, no additional wires needed, provided they are on the same network. Ultimately this means that while being able to project to a larger screen (presumably that is the main reason for getting the Chromecast!?) is a bonus, you don’t need to go to great lengths/pains to extend the existing user experience. read more

iOS 7

Apple’s latest iOS 7 was released to the public (globally I might add) yesterday, depending on your timezone. As usual there has been quite a bit of Apple-bashing online, rightly or wrongly, about the new (or the lack of, as the case may be) changes. I found this video, though made soon after the Apple WWDC a few months ago, presents a more balanced view of features of iOS7 and indirectly reflects how the smartphone landscape has changed since the original iPhone revolutionised this industry.

Honeycomb

The official preview of Android goodness (Honeycomb or Android 3.0) to come in, not months, but weeks!

Now I am really looking forward to get my hands on a good-ol 7″ Android tablet sometime this year. read more

Gadget year

The times we live in are shaping up to be more and more heavenly for gadget geeks, not that I am one of course. 🙂

Nevertheless, I have upgraded/acquired a few items in the last 6 months.

  • LG PJ350 42″ plasma TV: Despite plasma being a relative older technology and perhaps out of fashion given the flood of low-energy LED TVs in the market, this relative economical plasma TV (with the lower 720p resolution) has excellent picture quality to rival many of the more expensive (and larger) LED/LCD TVs, and very comfortable on the eyes too.
  • Sony PS3: I never thought that I’d succumb to the computer games bug but once I got this console (with the intention of using this as a BlueRay player at some point), I am hooked on some of the beautiful game titles available! I will try to review some of the games I am playing now at a later date.
  • AC Ryan PlayonHD: What can I say, a media player that can be easily upgraded (essentially a Linux machine) to play multiple formats, combined with network storage means the ultimate in convenience – watching movies on TV in the living room or on a laptop via Wifi.
  • Network storage: Although I am mainly using network harddisks made by Buffalo, there are certainly quite a few budget choices to choose from these days.
  • Panasonic Lumix LX3 (2nd hand): This was more or less an impulse decision. After being somewhat frustrated by the quality of videos on the equally good Fujifilm F200EXR (the low light department is excellent), I decided to give the reputed LX3 a try when I saw the quality of videos to be had with this camera.