October 2, 2014
San Jose-based startup Matchstick, in cooperation with Mozilla, is creating what is essentially an “open Chromecast.” The startup is taking orders for its first open-source media streaming dongle, which will range in price from $12 to $25. Matchstick hopes to encourage developers to create apps for its Firefox OS-based device before it starts shipping in January. Mozilla is helping the Matchstick team draw more content partners, so that the startup will be able to offer premium content.
Matchstick is staying true to its vision to create a completely open-source product. The startup is planning a developer event in November and other outreach programs for app developers, who will have full access to the software code and the hardware schematics.
“Matchstick is a small, Wi-Fi-connected HDMI stick that plugs into your HDTV or HD monitor that lets you stream and interact with your favorite stuff from the Internet — movies, TV, music, games, and more,” explains the Kickstarter project page. “You can even use it in a conference room to get presentations or other media from your laptop to an HDTV.”
“Seen this before? Well, we approached the Matchstick project with the mindset to build a completely OPEN hardware and software platform, so we moved forward with Mozilla to create the first streaming stick built and certified for Firefox OS.”
Re/code reports: “Matchstick is backed by Chinese hardware maker aBitCool and other investors.” Mozilla is not an investor, but the startup is using the Firefox OS, currently in use in a $99 ZTE phone. Mozilla may consider developing its own $25 phone. Panasonic also plans to use Firefox OS in some of its smart TVs.
Matchstick’s product will need to compete with smart TVs in addition to other popular streaming devices including Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV and Roku.
The company hopes that low prices and premium content will make the new dongle a competitor in this crowded market. Matchstick will start taking orders for the streaming device on Kickstarter.