TCL and Philips add Firefox OS-based Chromecast competitor to TVs

Matchstick, the Firefox OS-based Chromecast competitor that made waves on Kickstarter last year, is teaming up with TCL and Philips/AOC to integrate its technology into TVs, monitors and set-top boxes. Matchstick CEO Jack Chang told me at CES in Las Vegas Monday that he expects these new partners to ship around one million devices powered by Matchstick’s multiscreen technology this year.

At the core of the partnership between [company]Matchstick[/company], [company]TCL[/company] and [company]Philips[/company] is Flint, a new technology that brings multiscreen interaction to Firefox OS-powered TV devices. Flint is essentially Matchstick’s answer to Google Cast, with the key difference that it is completely open source, allowing anyone to build Flint-capable hardware or software. “With Flint, we are hoping to extend to all kinds of consumer electronics devices,” Chang said.

Chang said both TCL and Philips already have devices that are powered by the same chipset as the original Matchstick streaming stick, which made it easy to port Flint. TV sets and other devices from TCL and Philips will still run their own native apps, but also offer multiscreen interaction through Flint as an added benefit, Chang explained. Flint-powered devices from TCL and Philips are expected to be available as early as Q2, and Chang told me that both companies would make them available worldwide.

At CES, Matchstick is unveiling Flint with a number of demos, which include HTML, Android and Firefox OS apps capable of flinging content to the TV. As with Chromecast, Flint is capable of handing off interaction to the cloud, so that users can launch media playback on their phone, and then do something else or even turn the phone off, with playback continuing on their TVs.

Unlike Chromecast, it will also allow ad-hoc mode, meaning that users will be able to stream directly to the device without the need for any internet connectivity — something that will come in handy for travelers looking to watch videos in their hotel room.

Word about a Firefox OS-based Chromecast competitor first got out when I got hold of one of these devices last June. Matchstick then started a Kickstarter for its streaming stick in October, and raised some $470,000 in the process. The company is expected to ship its first streaming sticks in February.

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Flint Buys Back GM’s Love With Tax Breaks for Volt Plant

Pop quiz: Monday was a good day if you were (A) General Motors; (B) planning on buying the Chevy Volt; (C) an unemployed resident of Flint, Mich., or (D) all of the above? You know the answer. Yesterday, GM received millions in promised tax breaks to help build a new $359 million, 530,000-square-foot engine plant for the Chevy Volt, the most highly anticipated green car this side of the Tesla.

The plant will assemble the 1.4 liter turbo four-banger that will be used in the Volt as well as in Chevy’s new Cruze compact. The new engine works will be built near Flint Engine South and Flint Truck plants and create 300 jobs. GM is to begin production in 2010, with Volt assembly set for GM’s storied Hamtramck (Mich.) plant just 65 miles away. GM is also seeking additional tax breaks from the state of Michigan for Volt production, and Congress is considering tax incentives that would defray purchase costs of the Volt.

The news was welcomed, if not whole-heartedly, by Flint Councilman Jim Ananich: “A lot of people still feel…General Motors owes us more than just a couple hundred jobs,” he told the Detroit News. “I understand what people feel — I still sometimes have those feelings — but as competitive as the market is and the trouble General Motors is having, we have to help them with whatever we can do to keep them competitive.” Read More about Flint Buys Back GM’s Love With Tax Breaks for Volt Plant

Vid-Biz: Democrats, AMD, Vudu

More Online Video at Democratic Convention; YouTube, Dailymotion and Stickam all contribute to the new media coverage (good thing Level3 has installed more than five miles of fiber optic cable for the event). Want to watch the show online? Check out our handy guide.

AMD Sells Off Digital TV Chip Division; Broadcom buys it for $192.8 million in cash. (GigaOM)

Vudu Hires New CFO; former eBay finance exec Chris Watts joins the company amidst recent layoffs. (release)

Classics Still Can’t Be Found Online; digital downloads favor newly released titles; films like The Godfather and Jaws can’t be found legally online as rights are cleared and there’s more money to be made from DVD sales. (Variety)

Brian Conley Released from Chinese Detention; citizen journalist and seven other Americans freed six days early and deported back to the U.S. (Next New Networks)

ABC News’ Web Newscast Not Going Away; network will keep producing the the 15-minute news program with Charlie Gibson. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Which Nokia N Series Phone Will Be A Hit?

At the Nokia OpenStudio event in New York, I got to play with most of the Nokia N Series phones, and walked away with distinct impression that the only two models that might prove to be commercial hits were Nokia N73 (candy bar) and Nokia N75 (flip phone for US market.) Given that it was one man’s opinion, I wanted to put the question to you, and to help you have cobbled together a little graphic of N80, N73, N75 and N95. Make your pick… and predict the future. (PS: if you don’t much care about Nokia, let me know which phone could be your musicphone of choice and why? iPhone is not a real product, so lets leave that one out.)

Darren is a Tablet PC Evangelist

Darren of Tablet Minds gave a demo of the Tablet PC to educators yesterday and as usually happens when you demo the Tablet to those who have not been exposed to the ink and slate he had a successful show!

I even had applause when I was finished. It is very likely they will have me back for a longer session.

It is obvious that Darren had a good time with the demo given the mention of “jaw-dropping moments”. It is great to see more people getting exposed to the power of the Tablet PC through the efforts of enthusiasts like Darren. Here’s my favorite line from his post:

My name is Darren, and I am a Tablet PC Evangelist.

It feels good, doesn’t it Darren? Well done.