There are officially one zillion wireless sharing devices on planet earth, with one billion new offerings coming to market every day. OK, perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit, but there are dozens to hundreds of good looking options on the market, but they all seem to come with a catch. Most wireless sharing devices stink for one of three reasons:
- Limited cross-platform functionality: It works great for Windows, but has limited Mac support, or vice versa. Even worse, throw in a requirement for Linux support and most offerings fall apart.
- Software hoops: If it requires a Ph.D. in software engineering (magna cum laude or above) to download an app, install it on a laptop or phone, and share your content to a screen… it’s dead in the water!
- Feature Fatigue: Features are cool, don’t get me wrong, but sacrificing the base functionality, used by 95% of users (wirelessly share my screen to the TV) to accommodate fringe users (quad view with student queues anyone?) isn’t a winning strategy.
Enter Denmark’s Airtame… in 2014, this company started as an Indiegogo campaign gone wild, with over $1.4 million raised. The original Airtame device was more of a wireless sharing dongle, but suffered from a number of minor issues (limited RAM, wireless bandwidth issues, video quality issues), but it was still a solid option and well priced.
But, in October of 2018, Airtame announced Airtame 2! This device included a range of “lessons learned” from their previous device including a better (granted, larger) size to assist with network connectivity, more RAM, a proper locking mechanism, an improved chipset throughout, and more range to name a few.
What’s the big deal? First, the device is still reasonably priced at $399 (with no annual fee) when comparing other higher end sharing devices. Airtame 2 is fully compatible with Windows, Mac and Linus, and we found the software to be well engineered. Sure, it’s not a $29 wireless-share stick from some unknown company off of eBay… but that’s not a bad thing (security!). The device is simple to configure and deploy. End users seem to enjoy the platform, and with the optional Ethernet add-on, it a good option for schools. And, most importantly, it just works!
Cons: If I was forced to list a few cons, they would be that other platforms may have more features… but that brings me back to the above mentioned “feature fatigue.” Again, Airtame seems to be shooting for the 95% use case. It’s also worth mentioning that Airtame isn’t backed by a large company. That’s not always a bad thing, but in 2-3 years, who knows how well the device will be supported (but, the same can be said for some of the larger AV hardware companies as well). Overall, it’s a good device.