By Alexandra Burlacu | Aug 23, 2014 09:21 AM EDT
Microsoft is apparently planning to launch its own Chromecast-like device called the Miracast Dongle, if a recent FCC filing is any indication.
Google's Chromecast has proved to be very popular worldwide, and the trend of streaming dongles seems to be gaining momentum. Chromecast has become so popular because it comes with a very low price tag of just $35, and it still tops Amazon's electronics best-seller list although it's been a while since its launch.
It now seems that Microsoft wants to join the party with a device of its own, which appears to be quite similar to Google's Chromecast. As expected, Microsoft's dongle will be specifically tailored for Windows Users.
The folks over at Nokia PowerUser (NPU) were the first to spot the FCC documents in question, which indicate that Microsoft's upcoming gadget will feature Wi-Fi connectivity, HDMI compatibility, as well as a USB port. In other words, the hardware will be very similar to the Chromecast, or other set-top boxes out there.
Microsoft will not make use of Google's Cast technology to stream video to a TV via the streaming dongle. Another filing, this time spotted at the Wi-Fi Alliance website, reveals that Microsoft's streaming dongle will use Miracast to beam content from a Windows laptop or a Windows Phone device to larger screens such as TVs.
On the other hand, it remains to be seen how it will all pan out. While Google's Cast is more flexible, Miracast is not. As Gigaom accurately notes, as opposed to Miracast, Google's Cast makes it easier for several people in the same room to share control over what's played on the larger screen. Even so, Miracast still has its own goodies to offer. It has the essential features such as allowing users to mirror their smartphone or laptop display onto a larger screen, which means that it could still prove to be useful for Windows users.
If it wants to make it against Google's Chromecast, however, Microsoft should launch its Miracast dongle at a very competitive price point. Lastly, as The Verge points out, a Microsoft Miracast dongle surfaced earlier this year with Surface branding (see image above). It remains unclear whether the Miracast dongle will look exactly like this when it launches, or whether it will be called the Surface dongle instead, but we'll keep you up to date as soon as we learn more.