If you happen to own one of Dell’s Venue tablets, you now have an easy way to put its content on a bigger screen. Dell has just launched the Cast, a simple stick that lets you link your slate to any HDMI-equipped display. You can either mirror your screen directly or use the larger panel as a makeshift desktop, including multiple web browser windows. Shades of Motorola’s Webtop, anyone? The add-on is available now for $80, although you may need to be patient depending on your choice of platform. Only Android-based Venue tablets can use the Cast right away. You’ll have to wait until later this year to pair it with Windows-based models like the Venue 8 Pro.
Dell is taking on the Chromecast, but it’s giving the concept a more business-minded yet limited twist of its own. While the Dell Cast does plug into TVs and monitors via HDMI, the purpose isn’t just to “cast” multimedia to a bigger screen but to turn your Android tablet into a desktop, complete with keyboard and mouse. How it works is quite simple. You plug the Dell Cast into an HDMI port of a TV or a monitor, run the Dell Cast app on your Dell Android tablet and start wirelessly mirroring your tablet’s contents and apps to the larger screen. Add in a keyboard and a mouse and you practically get a full desktop setup with the tablet acting as the heart. Of course, you can still treat it like a media streaming accessory ala Chromecast. The Dell Cast can support videos up to Full HD 1080p in resolution. The technical details on the Dell Cast are quite sparse. It doesn’t exactly mention what wireless technology is utilized, but we’ll presume it is Miracast since Dell’s tablets are a big fan of that tech. Connecting a keyboard and a mouse isn’t also fully explained, but there is one full-size USB port at the bottom which presumes you’ll want to use a wireless keyboard and mouse combo, or have a USB hub at the very least. There is also one micro USB port at the side, though that one is only used for powering up the Dell Cast.