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Dell Cast Turns Venue Tablet into Desktop for $80

Dell is looking to expand the functionality of its Venue 7 and Venue 8 with the Dell Cast, an $80 wireless dongle that plugs into a TV, turning those Android tablets into fully functional desktops. 

The Dell Cast dongle is about the length of your thumb, and no larger than devices such as the Chromecast. On one end is a male HDMI plug to connect the Dell Cast to a TV or monitor, and on the other side is a full-size USB port, which lets you attach a peripheral such as a mouse or keyboard. A smaller microUSB port on the side of the Dell Cast provides power for the device. 

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Using Miracast technology, the Dell Cast can stream content from its Venue 7 or the Venue 8 Android tablets, but it does more than just mirror what's on the tablet. In productivity mode, the Dell Cast's TV interface looks more like a traditional desktop, replete with widgets for email, news, and so forth. Additionally, users can set up multiple desktops to suit their work and play habits.

However, you'll need the second-gen Venue 7 and Venue 8 tablets to access all the features of the Dell Cast; the first-gen versions of those tablets will only support screen mirroring. in the near future, Dell will add support for Windows tablets; we just wish it worked with all Android devices.

Follow Michael A. Prospero @mikeprospero and on Google+.  Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+.