Google's Australian Plans For The Chromecast And Nexus 7

Google unveiled two new pieces of hardware today: an update to its Nexus 7 tablet and the Chromecast, an HDMI device which plugs into your television to enable video streaming from a wide range of services, supported by a software development kit (SDK) that allow new apps to take advantage of the service. Unfortunately -- and as is often the case with new Google hardware -- Australian users won't see them right away.

Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


The Chromecast is a tiny thumb drive-sized stick with an HDMI port on one end. It's Wi-Fi enabled and designed to make it simple to push video and other content from your home network, smartphone or the web directly to your TV screen. The Chromecast can be controlled remotely from any Android device, iOS device or computer running Chrome, as long as you're using a Chromecast- enabled app.

During the demo at a press conference in San Francisco, Google showed off YouTube, Netflix, Pandora and Google Play media services. Anything playing in Chrome on your desktop can be shared using a "cast" button on the toolbar. The Chromecast is designed to allow media to keep playing even if the device being used to stream the content is also being used for other tasks.

The approach of using a dongle for TV control is a familiar one (we've seen a device to do this from Kogan, for instance). It also marks Google's latest attempt to crack TV and media streaming, a market where it has only had limited success. Its Google TV platform has only had limited success, and never made it to Australia outside of a handful of Sony devices. Its Nexus Q media streamer was delayed, seemingly indefinitely.

At $US35, I suspect the Chromecast will sell well initially. However, in its first version, it is definitively a US-only product.

A big part of the reason for that is the close tie-in with Netflix; the $35 includes three months free subscription. No plans have been announced for release outside the US, and previous streaming systems from Google have tended to hit overseas markets years later, if they arrive at all.

That said, with the device being sold through US Best Buy stores from July 28, it won't be hard to get your hands on one if you're keen to experiment with the device. The biggest reason to do that? Google is releasing a Google Cast SDK to allow app developers to cast their own content to the device. For any local developers with media-related apps, this is probably worth checking out.

According to Google, only around 200 lines of code are needed to "Cast-enable" an app. The developer kit is in preview; you can't release any apps using the service without written permission from Google, and if you're developing for Chrome, your site will need to be whitelisted by Google before it works. (I'm guessing that means adult content providers might not be allowed in.)

The Nexus 7

The new Nexus 7 tablet is a little shorter and wider than its predecessor. More importantly, it is around 50 grams lighter and 2mm thinner. It includes a full HD screen (1920 by 1200 pixels), and runs the newly-announced Jelly Bean 4.3.

While the last Nexus 7 tablet saw an Australian release simultaneous with the US, this new model is US-only initially. However, Google has said other countries are coming "soon". The big question will be whether we pay an 'Australia tax' premium for the device, though in the case of the Nexus 7 that wasn't as big as some people made it out to be.


    i'm going to the USA in 2 weeks. If i buy a new N7, will be locked or otherwise retarded like USA devices often are?

      If you are getting the LTE version, check that the bands it supports are ones used in Aus. Apart from that there isn't any problem besides the charger being a different plug.

        Indeed, having the wrong bands (frequency) is the same as not having LTE. Its essential that they match up. Make sure the device supports our frequencies. They haven't been confirmed yet. Google might even end up making multiple models.

        thanks for the current model is wifi-only and i prefer it that way...BestBuy here i come!!

          Be careful when you buy music/media/books in the states. Because of stupid entertainment companies there are different licenses for Aus and USA.

          You may be unable to redownload some media once you get home, worse case, you can't even watch/listen to it.

    We don't need Netflix for Chromecast to be very useful indeed. Many people watch ABC Iview and SBS On Demand by connecting laptops or PCs by HDMI cable to TVs. Chromecast will make tablet connections even more available and efficient.

    It's very easy to watch Netflix on a android device in Australia. I've done it every day this week.

      There is a big difference between an individual breaking copyright laws and using a VPN/Proxy to watch NetFlix and a corporation the size of google encouraging it.

        I'm not sure using a proxy is breaking copyright laws, given that Australian copyright laws AFAIK don't disallow circumventing geoblocking. Also, Apple has devices to access Netflix from Australia so this wouldn't be much different.

    the chromecast looks good. Just needs an HDMI port?

    Would have been easier (and more helpful) to have the headline as "Google has announced no plans for the Chromecast and Nexus 7 in Australia".

      and miss out on SEO juice....... mmmm naaaaaaaaaaah!!

    The Chromecast info wouldn't meet advertising standards here in Australia. None of the images depict the device connected to power, which it always requires via the microUSB port...

    Buy one from America and plug it in here. What problem.


    Got my Nexus 7 FHD 2 weeks ago, early adopter problems, but on second factory reset, can power down reboot without problems, still has touch sensitivity issues on some applications. Obviously this is a software issue, I await the first bug fix with baited breath, still, very good price performance, 5 stars on antutu benchmark, would love to use it as a remote for Chromecast. Managed to get android TV to crank out 1080p, at my sisters place, over WiFi, a month ago.

    I have ordered one of these from Amazon to be delivered in Australia.i don't want access to Netflix. Would i still be able to stream youtube videos or videos from my laptop on my tv using this?

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