One of the hottest companies to emerge from Eastern Europe in recent years is the Hungarian-founded, but Danish-based, AIRTAME, which has released a dongle that will allow users to chuck away their cables and begin projecting games, charts, websites, or really anything from the small to large screen. The AIRTAME dongle, which retails for $199 or 199 Euro, is a versatile little tool, allowing users to cast from any type of device, using any operating system, so long as they have downloaded the AIRTAME app. One of the easiest ways for users to cast content is by connecting the dongle to the local WiFi network and letting everyone sign in to the platform. However, the device also works in the absence of a solid WiFi connection, allowing the user to plug right in and work.
AIRTAME first grabbed serious attention back in 2013, when they ran a very successful Indiegogo campaign, taking in just over $1.5 million from more than 14,000 backers. Despite bringing that solid amount of funding, they decided that they were not satisfied and later closed an agreement with Tommy Ahlers and Copenhagen-based Seed Capital for another $1.4 million in seed funding.
Ideas sometimes come at the strangest times and AIRTAME appears to be a testament to that. Attila Sukosd, the company’s current CTO, says that the device was originally nothing more than a side project of his (one of several), as he was searching for a way to stream content from content from his desktop to a smaller notebook so that he could play games on the smaller device while sitting on his coach. But, life has a funny way of working out and what was initially just a simple prototype soon became a serious business idea and the AIRTAME dongle was born.
Based on the popularity of the device, it appears that there is a considerable market for those who are looking for such a device. Despite having launched within just the past two years, the company reports that they current have orders for 23,000 devices from customers in 96 countries.
Going forward, they have several ideas for improving upon the dongle, including remote collaboration and desktop sharing, digital signage, and cloud computing and gaming.
One of the main competitors in this market is Google’s Chromecast, a $35 dongle that similarly allows users to cast apps and websites from smaller devices to televisions or projectors. The price is obviously a large difference, but differences in features appear to be minor. The Chromecast allows users to take advantage of apps on the larger screen, but requires that they use Chrome if they want to mirror a website. Further, it appears that users cannot easily cast if they lack a solid WiFi connection.