Microsoft takes a simpler, more open approach than Google, the company that's known for such practices, as the Windows maker has released a Chromecast rival that simply mirrors content from a host device.
The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, which retails at $59.99, receives input directly from the host device's Wi-Fi radio, so there's no need for a home network or a cloud account to cast content with the dongle. The dongle can cast content from desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The low-profile caster includes a USB port for power and an HMDI port to output content to a display. The dongle uses Miracast, a multiplatform screencast utility that supports both Windows and Android devices.
In standard Microsoft fashion, its screencaster doesn't overlook the needs of business users. Unlike the app-centric Chromecast, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter can cast presentations and webpages to projectors and televisions, according to Brandon LeBlanc, senior marketing communications manager at Microsoft.
"This makes it a great tool for use at work, in a conference room, and not just at home," says LeBlanc. "Remember, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter works with projectors and monitors, too, so no more searching for the right, fitted adapter that plugs into your laptop every time you're presenting."
The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter can also expand desktop real estate by extending the host machine's displayed content onto the client device's display.
"Depending on your device, you can have it mirror exactly what's being shown on the screen of your device or extend its screen," says LeBlanc. "Because the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter uses Miracast technology, you're not limited to certain apps or content streaming. It'll show anything and everything from your device!"
The open-ended screencaster falls in line with Microsoft's increased focus on productivity and its standing invitation for users of all software platforms to use its devices. On the evening of the iPhone 6 launch, Microsoft announced that it was offering 30 GB of OneDrive storage to costumers of its longtime rival.
"While it might seem strange to announce new features on a Friday evening, we've been listening to the commentary about storage on the new iPhones released today [Sept. 19] and we wanted to get you more storage right away," said Douglas Pearce, Microsoft's principal group program manager for Windows services.
Microsoft also rolled out expansions to the storage available to users of OneDrive's camera roll, covering both Android and Windows Phone users with the move.