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Google continued its push into hardware manufacturing on Tuesday by announcing Chromecast, a new streaming device that will go head-to-head with the Apple TV set-top box for just over a third of its price.
Alongside the refreshed Nexus 7 revealed today, Google also showed off the Chromecast, a diminutive streaming attachment that plugs into the HDMI port on a television. Using the Chromecast, users can stream and queue material from Android and iOS devices, Chrome OS devices like the Chromebook Pixel, and OS X and Windows PCs with Google's Chrome browser installed.
The Chromecast device itself interfaces with interoperable services directly, enabling users to continue using their devices even as content streams. It works with music content and videos from YouTube, as well as with apps like Netflix, both on iOS and Android.
During the presentation of the new device, Google executives showed it picking up streaming content from both an Android and iOS phone, continuing a user's YouTube experience with just the press of a button. Users will find that the YouTube, Google Play Music, and Netflix apps on iOS and Android will now integrate a "Cast" button, which will tell the device to push video or audio content to a ChromeCast device on the same network.
Multiple users with compatible apps installed on their mobile devices and traditional computers can also collaborate to queue content and share to the same television.
Showing off the device, Google execs repeatedly made thinly veiled references to Apple's "beloved hobby" the Apple TV set-top box.
"Unlike other solutions," one said in the course of the presentation, "we will not force you to have the same operating system on all your devices."
The Chromecast device runs a simplified version of Chrome OS, and Google is working to provide the tools to developers that would allow them to have content from their apps displayed via Chromecast or through a Chrome browser interacting with a Chromecast device.
Chromecast went on sale shortly after it was announced on Wednesday. It is currently available at Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and Google's online Play Store. On July 28, the device will be available in Best Buy's physical retail locations.
Google has taken a particularly aggressive stance with regard to the device's pricing. At $35, it is just over one-third of the price of an Apple TV device. Apple's diminutive set-top box is by far the most popular among streaming devices according to one recent measure.