Walled gardens. They make beautiful things but they insist that you stay in them.
Everyone is guilty to an extent, but Apple is clearly the front-runner when it comes to proprietary hardware and software.
Let’s be clear: I’m not saying they are wrong or bad for this approach. I prefer the more open approach of horizontal software; stuff that works on all sorts of platforms.
It’s the reason I was able to write the piece yesterday about using a iPad a little bit now. My Google apps and services are available in lots of places and in lots of ways. That idea makes me happy.
Apple, on the other hand, has crafted a very well-integrated software and hardware ecosystem that unapologetically insists that you stay within the Apple family of products to really get any use out of it. When inside those walls, however, the seamless operation is impressive.
Again, not my cup of tea, but I see their reasoning.
Apple TV vs. Chromecast
One device I’ve always thought Apple could benefit from opening up is Apple TV. Before Chromecast hit the market, it was an enviable thing to be able to share your screen quickly with a simple tap of a button.
I remember wanting that function for some time.
And, even with Chromecast arriving, the screen-sharing abilities of Google’s casting stick took some time to develop.
The whole experience wasn’t as refined as the Apple TV. I’ve since, of course, become a HUGE fan of the Chromecast and its ability to play nice with so many devices. I still wish they would get screen-sharing working on iOS devices so that there’s no need for people to use Apple TV, but that hasn’t happened yet.
So, for now, there are offices, homes and schools that have a mix of both streaming devices. Our office actually has a few TV’s with Chromecasts and a few with Apple TV’s. I get a bit frustrated when I need to share my screen and can’t because the streaming device on the nearest screen is an Apple TV.
After all, my Macbook-touting co-workers can share their screen to the Chromecast.
But that changes with the arrival of AirParrot 2.
Airplay From Your Chromebook
AirParrot has been around for a while, giving Windows machines a way to share their screen since before the Chromecast hit the scene.
I used it in the past, but it was early days for AirParrot. Bug, crashes, overheating and severe battery drain all gave me reasons to give up on the software in its early iterations.
Now, AirParrot has grown up. In addition to a Windows version, they are now offering a version for Chromebooks as well.
With it, students, workers or home users will be able to seamlessly cast their desktops to Apple TV devices and use them just like a Macbook or iOS device would.
Sure, I prefer Chromecast to Apple TV, but this ability gives Chromebook users yet another thing to cross of the list of “Chromebooks don’t…” I have purchased the full version, but you can give it a try right here. If you have Apple TV’s anywhere you work or play, I’d say the paltry $4.99 is well worth the expense once you’ve give the trial version a go.
So the next time you want to sling something up on the big screen, the question isn’t if: it is which.