While Google’s Chromecast streaming device has quickly raced from novelty item to household name, Google’s is reluctance to disclose sales figures has kept the device’s actual popularity a mystery. However, a new report from App Annie sheds some light on the issue, crowning the device’s setup app as the top dog in terms of downloads for apps associated with connected devices in the U.S.
App Annie’s report examined the top apps associated with connected devices across both iTunes and Google Play in the U.S. In terms of downloads, the app for Google’s dongle secured the number-one spot, followed respectively by Fitbit, DirecTV, HP ePrint, Kodak Kiosk Connect, Square Register, GoPro, AT&T U-verse, Dish Anywhere, and HP All-in-One Printer Remote. Chromecast was the top app by downloads across all categories and within the “Media” subcategory of connected devices.
The report reflects data gathered by App Annie between August 2013 and August 2014.
To put the Chromecast’s impressive ranking in perspective, App Annie points to a Gartner study that estimates that more than 26 billion connected devices will be installed globally by 2020. This plethora of devices will essentially serve to comprise the “Internet of Things” (IoT), the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. The rapidly growing sector is (or, rather, will be), by definition, all-encompassing, and capable of gradually interconnecting everything from coffeemakers to fitness bands. Sitting atop the current list, Chromecast not only asserts its place as an extremely popular streaming device, but also outlines a serious thirst for affordable content streaming from the general populace.
Chromecast’s rise in popularity above the general connected-device fray can perhaps be explained by its simplicity and versatility. Crafted into a portable dongle the size of a flash drive, it acts as a vessel for the delivery of content from a variety of sources, with its software at the heart of its magic. By letting its user access video from the Internet and various online services via mobile devices, and then display it on a larger screen, it connects the digital with the physical in an uncomplicated way — all for just $35. And Chromecast has made its bones by sourcing a wide variety of third-party apps instead of merely sticking to its own walled garden of services and apps.
Of course, Google’s Chromecast still has plenty of local competition to consider in its own market. Roku and Apple TV are the big ones in the streaming world that often come to mind, but there are many other options vying for attention as well, from the Amazon FireTV, to Blue-ray players and game consoles. Additionally, Amazon is developing a dongle-like device to compete, and a startup called Matchstick is working on a Firefox OS-based dongle that will also eventually join the fray.
Still, as the tech world continues to add more and more connected devices, it’s clear that Chromecast has struck a chord with users of all ilks.
[image: Robert Fruehauf / Shutterstock.com]