Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

Microsoft to launch Chromecast rival with Android support

Microsoft is set to launch its own high-end streaming media stick. Similar to Google’s Chromecast, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter allows content to be streamed from devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones directly to larger screens.

The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter will support devices running either Android 4.2.1 or later, or Windows 8.1 (both desktop and phone editions).

Microsoft’s new media stick is currently available to pre-order in the United States from both the company’s own online store and Best Buy. No details have yet been given about a global release, although the product is highly likely to be made available internationally.

A key difference between the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter and Chromecast is the price. Microsoft’s offering costs an eye-watering $59.95.

By contrast, Chromecast is on sale for $35 in the US, £30 in the United Kingdom and typically around €35 in continental Europe. Another alternative media streaming dongle, the Roku Streaming Stick is on sale at $49.99 in the US and £49.99 in the UK.

Given the 1:1 conversation ratio that exists with the pricing of many tech products in the US and Europe, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter is unlikely to prove any more affordable when it goes on sale outside the company’s home market.

As shown in the video above, Microsoft is targeting business users with its media streaming stick, as well as the more general consumer market.

The marketing direction being taken is notably different to the strategy employed by the company of late in other areas. Recently, Microsoft has focussed on promoting low-cost smartphones, tablets and laptops, as well as professional cloud services targeted at businesses.

However, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter is clearly intended to be an all-in-one device. It is positioned simultaneously as a premium consumer offering and a business purchase.

Unlike Chromecast, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter is reliant on Miracast. This is a wireless screencast standard that was developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Therefore, Microsoft’s new media stick needs content to be streamed from a Miracast-enabled device. But unlike with Chromecast, it is not necessary for support to be embedded into individual apps and programs.

[via ZDNet]