One of the horrible things with the Chromecast is that there is almost no third party development able to happen due to the locked down nature of the SDK, with only promises that the software development kit for programmers is coming. There has been a closed early version of the development kit, which allows for nothing terribly useful in terms of development, as the Chromecast is still locked down to only work with what Google allows: only Pandora, HBO, Netflix, and Hulu have been allowed into the developer’s inner circle.
While there’s still no date for the public release of the SDK, on December 7 and 8 in Mountain View, CA, there is a two-day long Google-hosted hackathon to let developers work with the release candidate kit. It reads like the developers will be given Google computers to work with, so there’s probably no chance the pre-release development kit is going to walk out on a USB drive to be analyzed by the world.
It sounds to me a little like Google in this scenario is challenging the world to beat their SDK security, but not letting the world see them beat. Or perhaps the idea is to come up with some really ingenious ideas for use with the device that could be incredibly useful if Google just stepped aside and let people play with it.
There are an awful lot of hurdles being put in place here to prevent third parties from doing anything useful or fun with the device, and that’s got a lot of people riled up as Google has picked and chosen who gets to play on the device you purchased. There’s still the hurdle to development after the public SDK is released that if an app does something that Google, or theoretically any third party, doesn’t agree with (such as allowing you to stream a DVD you own from your computer to your Chromecast), Google can simply make that application not work across the board by yanking it from the whitelist.
But for now at least some movement is happening.