Firefox OS-based Matchstick takes aim at Google’s Chromecast
Matchstick is a new streaming dongle aiming to compete directly with Google’s low-cost Chromecast product. The new stick plugs into your TV or HD monitor’s HDMI port and lets you stream or mirror content to it, just like Google’s device. Things are a little different behind the scenes, however, with the Matchstick running Mozilla's Firefox OS.
You may well get a little déjà vu with the Matchstick. The device is very similar in both form and function to Google’s low-cost Chromecast streaming dongle. The big difference here is that the Matchstick runs Mozilla’s open source platform. You can throw content up on the big screen from Android or iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as both Chrome and Firefox browsers. If you’re using a laptop, you can mirror any window in the compatible browsers on the Matchstick.
As far as the team behind the new hardware is concerned, the success of the project hinges upon developer support. With Firefox OS being a completely open platform, anyone can make an application for the streaming device and get it out to users without first having it approved for release.
The team is actively encouraging developers to get on board with the project, offering 500 developer kits through the crowdfunding campaign that are scheduled to ship in November (months ahead of the targeted February launch date).
While the team is confident there will be a large number of quality apps ready to go when Matchstick launches, it’s also doing its bit, personally working to ensure that key apps including Netflix, HBO Go, Pandora, ESPN and ABC are ready for day one.
Matchstick will also be binary compatible with many existing Chromecast apps right out of the box, and the company says the apps that won’t initially work with the new hardware can be easily ported by developers, with the process apparently taking no more than an hour.
The Matchstick is powered by a dual core Rockchip 3066 processor, with 2 GB RAM and 4 GB internal storage. In keeping with the open source nature of the platform, the company has made the reference designs and hardware schematics for the Matchstick available to download, meaning you could, at least in theory,make your own if you had the resources and know-how.
If you’re interested in picking up a Matchstick, then you can secure one for as little as US$12 through the team’s Kickstarter page (providing the project reaches its funding goal). The initial run of devices is scheduled to ship in February 2015. The final product will retail for $25.
Check out the video below for more on the Matchstick.