The Matchstick is a small device that you can plug into your TV to play videos, stream internet content, or run apps… all while using your phones, tablet, or other device as a controller.
It looks a bit like a Google Chromecast (or Intel Compute Stick, for that matter). But the Matchstick runs open source software based on Firefox OS and it’s designed as a low-cost, open alternative to other TV sticks.
The team behind the Matchstick raised nearly half a million dollars through Kickstarter last year, and plan to begin shipping the final version of the device to backers of the campaign in February. It’ll be available to the public soon for $25.
While the most obvious use of this sort of device is media playback, it can do much more. The Matchstick team developed a few apps to show off at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, including a video chat app that lets you use your smartphone’s camera while sending video to your big-screen TV, and another which lets you snap a photo on you phone, send it to your TV, and then use facial recognition to identify your eyes… and then replace them in the picture with cartoon eyes.
Matchstick recently started shipping early units to developers to come up with third-party apps for the ecosystem, which means we could see more apps that take advantage of the two-way communication between you Android or Firefox OS device and the Matchstick device.
Of course, you can also just use it to find videos on your phone (or on the web) and tap a button to send them to a TV.
The MatchStick has a Rockchip RK3066 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and supports 802.11n WiFi.