Chromecast – the HDMI dongle that’s taken the US by storm, is about to go international. That much is certain, Sundar Pichai, head of Chrome and Android confirmed that last week at South By SouthWest(SXSW), but exactly when is the next question. The answer appears to be somewhat scaled, the Chromecast will launch in the UK on March 19th, and according to a couple of French websites, it will expand further afield on March 25th.
Android Police obtained a screenshot of a memo sent to UK distributor Dixons which lists the March 19th release date. The memo lists the product as being sold as of 9am on Wednesday the 19th of March and that the store is under NDA for the launch (well that didn’t work).
This information also marries up with a tweet sent the other day from a Curry’s PC World employee, who not only advised that they had received Chromecast stock into their stores but tweeted a picture of the stock – which has since been deleted. He was unable to provide a price at the time either.
While the Chromecast sells for US$35($38.79) in Google’s North American home market, the price of the dongle when it launches in the UK has not yet been advertised.
In France though, there’s better news. French site journaldugeek has received advance information in the form of a poster advertising the deal, that the Chromecast will go on-sale in France on the 25th of March through French Telecommunications company SFR(Société française de radiotéléphone), for a discounted price of €4.99 with a recommended retail price of €35 (AUD$53.93). Another French site clubic.com has also advised that as well as going on-sale at French retailers Boulanger, Darty and Fnac, the Chromecast is due to go on-sale in Google Play in Europe on the 25th of March.
From the poster, it appears that similar to the launch of the Chromecast in the US, Google is keen to partner with content distributors. The advertising above points towards a partnership with CanalPlay, a company who is best described as the ‘French Netflix’. There’s no current word on any UK content distribution partnerships at this stage but hopefully there’s meetings going on with Australian broadcasters behind closed doors on just this subject.
So, where does this leave Australia? Early this morning, I checked with regular Google retail partners – Harvey Norman and JB Hifi – who have partnered previously on the launch of their Nexus tablets and Phones as well as being pioneer retailers for the launch of Chromebooks in Australia. Staff who checked their respective inventories advised that there was no listing of the Chromecast at this time. But that doesn’t actually mean terribly much, there may just be better inventory control.
We certainly would welcome a launch of the Chromecast in Australia, with the launch of Google Play TV in Australia there’s now a good avenue for Google to sell and distribute content to the Chromecast. If you happen to work in retail and have something to send, we’d love to hear from you, anonymity guaranteed.