Google is reportedly ready to unveil a new version of its Chromecast dongle, with plenty of new features including support for faster WiFi, as well as “Chromecast Audio” and “Fast Play”.
Introduced back in 2013, the Chromecast is a powerful tool that belied its $35 retail price. Essentially, it allowed any TV with a HDMI port to turn into a “smart” TV. The Chromecast allowed users to “cast” content from their Android devices onto the TV, and other useful features like screen mirroring and playing games on a larger screen.
With its hardware seemingly dated, Google is set to announce a new Chromecast into the family. There’s no name for it yet, but according to 9to5Google it will again be feature-packed as its predecessor. A new addition is called “Chromecast Audio”, which like the original Chromecast, will turn any standard speakers into “smart” ones like the new high-end speakers that support Google Cast for Audio. The new Chromecast is supposedly able to be plugged in to a speaker using the ubiquitous 3.5mm audio jack, from which you can then control using your smartphone. It’s a pretty neat and cost-effective solution, though it is rather confusing at this point exactly how the new Chromecast will support multi-room audio.
One major announcement which Google is also expected to make is support for Spotify on both the current and new Chromecasts. Spotify is the only major streaming app missing from Chromecast’s wide app support, but that is now set to be rectified very soon.
The new Chromecast will also support faster WiFi, which most likely means 802.11ac – the previous Chromecast only supported 802.11n WiFi protocols. In addition, it will now also be able to show “feeds” on the home screen – likely to be along the lines of social media updates. This will further make the Chromecast home screen a lot more personal for the user.
Finally, the new Chromecast will feature something called “Fast Play”. As its name suggests, “Fast Play” will supposedly speed up connection times – if any of you used a Chromecast before, you’ll notice that there is a noticeable amount of time spent from the moment you “cast” something to it actually playing on the TV. This improvement will be pivotal in establishing a seamless user experience on the new Chromecast, allowing instant transitions from the small screen to the big screen.
More importantly, the new Chromecast isn’t too far away from being launched: 9to5Google’s report states that this smart dongle will be announced at Google’s 29 September event, where the company is also expected to announce its much-rumoured new Nexus devices. Pricing details for the new Chromecast, however, are still a secret.