Android 4.4.1 update hints at Android Chromecast screen mirroring 'very soon'

Android 4.4.1 update hints at Android Chromecast screen mirroring 'very soon'

Summary: Android screencasting look to be in the works, but it's a feature that Google is planning to keep to itself for now.

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TOPICS: Android, Google, Hardware
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Google appears to be planning to extend screencasting capabilities in Chromecast to allow Android devices to mirror the screen to TVs.

Google released Android 4.4.1 last week, primarily to fix the camera in the Nexus 5, but as with many Android updates from Google, changes to the source code Google submits to the Android Open Source Project often contain clues as to what's in store.

Developers at Funky Android over the weekend released a list of changes that were included in the update, including hints that Google is planning to let Android devices mirror their screens with nearby TVs, via Google's Chromecast.

Chromecast is the company's $35 answer to Apple TV. The dongle plugs into the HDMI port of an HDTV, which in theory allows the Android device to share its display with a larger screen. However, at the moment, Chromecast only permits screencasting through supported apps — such as Chrome, Netflix, Hulu and a few others.

Koushik Dutta, co-founder of Cyanogen Inc, which makes its own Android firmware, found the reference to the feature in Funky Android's change logs for the latest Android release, noting: "From the patches I see in 4.4.1, they'll be adding Android mirroring to Chromecast very soon."

But, Dutta adds, the feature will be closed to third-party developers (besides OEMs), meaning it won't be able to support projects that aim to use the same Android screencasting functionality with non-Chromecast hardware. Android owners do have other means of screencasting, however, such as with several dongles that support Miracast.

While Chromecast is available for purchase outside the US, usually at higher prices than in the country, so far Google has focused on its efforts around content deals with US providers such as HBO.

Meanwhile, a group of Danish developers is attempting to build an alternative to Chromecast, but one of the obstacles they face in supporting screencasting from Android devices is that Google won't permit third-party access to the Android APIs that would make such functionality possible.

Further reading

Topics: Android, Google, Hardware

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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7 comments
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  • You can use a Blu-Ray player for this

    I guess it's about time that Google included all this functionality in a single dongle.

    But if you just want your home TV to mirror the screen of your smartphone, you can buy certain Panasonic Blu-Ray players that have Miracast included. You then find videos on your smartphone, and beam them to your TV, via the Blu-Ray player.
    Vbitrate
    • however, Miracast on this particular phone does NOT work on Panasonic Blura

      The Miracast does not work, at least it will not pair with the same Panasonic device on which my Nexus 7 tablet works just fine. Fix this fast please LG, or give me my money back, because it's the reason that I bought this phone
      Adrian Ciungan
  • makes sense since the sdk will be released soon.

    On december 6th and 7th google had it's chromecast hackathon to test the new sdk. We should have a big chromecast update soon.
    Jean-Pierre-
  • Any chance of an international release soon?

    Probably not................
    Boothy_p
  • Just got one

    I just got a Chromecast over the weekend and love it. It was a little trickier to set up than I thought (You can't complete set up from a "wired" computer, must be something wireless.), bu tonce I got it going, it's been great. The main reason I wanted one was for mirroring chrome. We don't have cable and like to watch some shows via the internet. Our computer is in one room and our big TV in another. It's nice to finally be able to watch these shows out on the couch. It would be awesome to have complete screen mirroring for games and such. Just for the chrome mirroring, $35 was worth it to me.
    Too Close
    • I never was really interested in casting a browser from a laptop

      But I absolutely want phone mirroring, so I hope that is in fact coming.
      drwong
  • Don't buy this phone if you expect the Miracast to actually work

    The Miracast does not work, at least it will not pair with the same Panasonic device on which my Nexus 7 tablet works just fine. Fix this fast please LG, or give me my money back, because it's the reason that I bought this phone
    Adrian Ciungan