Google introduced the Chromecast last July with a lot of excitement. At $35, how can you beat it? Especially since it works with both Android and iOS. However, the Amazon Fire TV was introduced in April of this year, and it already has nearly double the developer support.
As is stands right now, there are over 500 apps available for the Fire TV. The Chromecast is a little harder to figure out. There is a new Chromecast section in the Play Store, but it might not show all the apps. If you add up the Featured, New, and More sections, the total is only 227.
How did Amazon get so much support in such a shorter period of time? The Fire TV was launched on April 2nd of this year, so it has been on the market for 203 days as opposed to 397 days for the Chromecast (July 24, 2014). Granted, the Chromecast SDK wasn’t released until February 3, 2014, but developers could still work on apps during the preview period.
Why isn’t the Chromecast getting the same love? It’s cheaper and has been on the Amazon’s best seller list for some time. And as I mentioned, it works with both Android and iOS. One huge factor is games. Right now Chromecast is primarily a streaming device and isn’t meant for games other than something simple. That’s where Android TV comes in.
The Chromecast in itself will probably never get more developer support than the Fire TV, but Android TV should generate the same, if not better, support. The Chromecast is not the be all end all of streaming options, but combine it with Android TV, and you have a platform that could wind up being the best set-top box moving forward.