Airtame, the Danish startup that received our Best of CES 2014 award for its awesome wireless video dongle, has confirmed that it will be shipping its first lot to its beta users this month. Better yet, the device has since been upgraded from a single-core Freescale chip to a dual-core version, along with dual-band WiFi and hardware acceleration on all three PC platforms: Windows, Linux and Mac. Over 15,000 Airtame dongles have been pre-ordered so far, and these will start shipping in May or June after some tweaking based on the beta feedback.
For those who aren’t familiar with Airtame, this is an HDMI dongle that you plug into a monitor or TV. With the software installed on your PC, you can wirelessly mirror or extend your desktop to one or multiple remote screens equipped with the dongle. What’s more, you can also choose to do so over your home network or over a direct WiFi connection (while somehow still maintaining your PC’s internet connection). The team claims that the performance is superior to that of existing Miracast dongles and Chromecast, featuring a low 25 to 30ms latency that’s good enough for gaming — as we found out at CES. The Chromecast, on the other hand, has a one- to two-second delay (plus it’s not really made for screen mirroring); and we’ve yet to come across a Miracast pairing that works reliably.
The Airtame dongle will eventually support smartphone and tablet video transmission, as the team received a lot of requests for a way to beam local content to the remote screen. However, app developers will need to use Airtame’s SDK to enable this feature — there will be supported apps at launch, and the dongle will also have its own browser that can be controlled from your mobile device.
In terms of retail availability, you can already pre-order the $99 Airtame dongle via the official website, or you can wait for its launch at select large but unnamed retailers in the US, Canada, UK and Europe. Russia and some Asian countries will get the dongle later, as they require local safety certifications.
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