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Mozilla launches Chromecast rival Matchstick

MatchstickMozilla has thrown its hat into the increasingly competitive streaming video dongle ring by endorsing the launch of a Firefox OS-based Chromecast rival, the Matchstick, priced competitively at US$25 (€32).

Following Microsoft’s unveiling of its own Chromecast-like mirroring device, the Wireless Display Adapter a week ago, Mozilla has introduced the Matchstick HDMI dongle, which will be available through Kickstarter for the first 500 customers who pre-order at US$12 before going to retail at US$25, some US$10 cheaper than Chromecast.

The hardware and software for the Matchstick are open-source.

Matchstick has invited app developers looking  to build and port apps for Firefox OS on Matchstick to apply for a free developer-preview device through a Matchsticks for Apps programme. Matchstick is also organizing a developer event at Mozilla’s facility in San Francisco in November.

“We are kicking off a programme that is familiar to the Firefox OS community, but instead of phones-for-apps programme launched by Mozilla, the Matchsticks for Apps program is aimed at developers who have built apps for Firefox OS, Chrome, Android, iOS or even for Chromecast. Maybe you have been building apps for Firefox OS and want to port them to the big screen,” said the company on its website.

The Matchstick is more powerful than Chromecast, with IGB of RAM and 4GB of Flash memory compared with Chromecast’s 512MB of SDRAM and 2GB of Flash memory.

“We are now looking for good ideas, video content, new channels for our customers, as well as games, tools, utilities, pictures, even skins for the UI, if you have a plan to build apps or do something for Matchstick, please share your plan and we are eager to send you a stick so you can start coding ASAP.”

The invitation is open to dongle developers who would like to build their own Matchstick as well as apps developers, including Chromecast developers who want to port their apps to an open platform.

Matchstick says that most Chromecast apps can be versioned for Matchstick easily, and first-generation Chromecast apps will run the device as they stand, according to Matchstick.

Matchstick said on its Kickstarter page that apps including Netflix, HBO Go, Pandora, ESPN and ABC would be available at launch, scheduled for next February.

According to the company, the Matchstick will enable users to mirror – or “fling” – content from their computer, iOS or Android devices  to the TV, as well as any website in Firefox or Chrome from a laptop to the Matchstick, enabling enterprise applications.