Matchstick, a $25 Chromecast rival running Firefox OS, hits $100,000 Kickstarter goal

Firefox OS-powered Chromecast rival reaches fundraising target to produce initial batch.

2014-10-01 12.08.16 pm
Matchstick developer edition. Image: Matchstick

Matchstick, the maker of the Firefox OS powered Matchstick HDMI streaming dongle, has hit its Kickstarter funding goal within 24 hours of the campaign’s launch.

Matchstick, which is headquartered in California with an engineering team in Beijing, has teamed up with Mozilla to enter the already crowded market for HDMI gadgets that stream content from mobile devices to larger displays, with a promise to be more open than Google's Chromecast.

The company kicked off its Kickstarter fundraiser yesterday, offering supporters an early bird price of $12 for the unit, which will ultimately retail for $25 — or $10 less than Google's Chromecast.

Within 24 hours, Matchstick reached its $100,000 target, amassing 500 backers for its $12 pledge, 2,731 backers for its pledge of $18 or more and 250 backers for its $24 or more pledge. The funding will allow it to cover its initial production run, which it says will begin in the next 30 to 60 days.

While the product does essentially the same thing as the Chromecast, Matchstick claims it won't come with limitations that have seen hackers hunt down ways to root Google's dongle, promising open source hardware and software.

"When Google introduced Chromecast we were excited about the possibilities but ultimately were disappointed when they pulled back on the device’s ultimate promise – any content on any HD screen, anywhere, anytime," Matchstick spokesman Shawn Bow said on Mozilla's blog.

After plugging the Matchstick into a TV or monitor's HDMI port, the user can start "flinging" content, apps, and games from a computer, iOS, or Android device to a larger screen. Users can also mirror websites from Firefox or Chrome.

Matchstick claims apps that will be available at launch include Netflix, HBO Go, Pandora, ESPN, ABC, and others.

Matchstick hardware is built on a dual-core Rockchip 3066 processor with 4GB onboard storage and 1GB DDR3 memory. The larger processor and memory should enable better video playback caching, according to Matchstick. It's also made its reference designs and hardware schematics available for download for others to build their own streaming hardware.

The company is appealing to developers who've built apps for iOS, Android, Firefox OS and Chromecast to adapt and port their software for Matchstick.

According to Matchstick, it will support streaming from Firefox OS, Android, and iOS devices including phones, tablets, and laptops, but not Windows Phone devices.

Windows Phone 8.1 users though already have another option in Microsoft's new Miracast-based wireless display adaptor , although it's a little more expensive at  $ 60  

Besides the well-known competition in the video streaming game such as Apple TV and Rocku, other less likely contenders, such as Dell, have launched similar products in recent months.

Dell's Cast , which only works with some of its Venue Android tablets, offers both to steam content from tablets to larger displays, but also adds a 'producivity mode' twist that converts the standard Android interface into one that resembles a traditional desktop when cast to a large display, helped along by a USB or Bluetooth connected keyboard or mouse.

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