Google may be ramping up its efforts on Chromecast, with an SDK hackathon scheduled next month, access to the $35 device is still relatively limited, at least when compared to the thousands of Android smartphone and tablet owners out there. For these people, one feasible, not to mention free, alternative is the CheapCast app that just got a whole lot better with this recent update.
We covered CheapCast's appearance in Google Play Store way back in August. This app basically turns any Android device into an instant Chromecast device, becoming the recipient of content that is "cast" from an officially supported source such as YouTube, Netlfix, and Google Music. Since the Android device has a screen of its own, it is possible to just watch direction on it. Of course, the real benefit comes when you connect the Android device-turned-Chromecast to a TV via HDMI, letting you view content in all its majestic glory.
When it launched, CheapCast's functionality was basic and quite limited. This latest update brings in some much needed features, in particular, support for Tab Casting. This will allow users to throw a browser tab to the device. At the moment, though, it simply mirrors the tab with no support for fullscreen playback. In addition, switching over to Chromium, the open source web browser on which Google's own Chrome browser is based, could also open up the app to even more possibilities.
The CheapCast app is, fortunately, still offered for free on Google Play Store. The developer is still accepting donations but, due to changes in the Play Store Terms of Service, that option is now only available in the form of an in-app purchase.