Lenovo has entered the streaming media player market with the $49 Cast. The puck-shaped media streamer enters a highly competitive market that's already filled with low-cost devices such as the Google Chromecast , Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku Stick .
Does the Lenovo Cast bring anything new to the table? Judging by the spec sheet, that would be a 'no'. The Cast can beam content from any DNLA or Miracast-enabled smartphone and tablet to a television screen, in much the same vein as Google's device. Unlike Google's current Chromecast model, the Lenovo cast is dual-band, allowing it to use either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz Wi-Fi frequencies. However, Google is widely expected to announce a new Chromecast dongle at its I/O conference later today, with dual-band Wi-Fi likely to be one of the upgrades.
Unlike the Roku Stick or the Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Lenovo Cast won't offer standalone apps such as Netflix, the BBC iPlayer or YouTube. All content will have to beamed from apps on the smartphone and tablet.
Oddly, Lenovo is flagging portability as one of the Cast's chief selling points. The product fact sheet says the device is "sleek and compact" and at only 70mm in diameter "can fit into any pocket or bag". Why you would want to carry a streaming device around with you, it's hard to fathom, but even if you did want a travel streamer to use on business trips or holidays, the aforementioned Google, Amazon and Roku dongles are all far more pocketable.
At $49 (around £30), the Lenovo Cast doesn't even top its rivals on price, making it hard to see why anyone would bother with this device. It goes on sale worldwide in August, if you've seen something in it that we've missed.