Google will be announcing a new version of its Chromecast TV streaming device later this month, according to 9to5Google’s Stephen Hall.
Chromecast is an electronic dongle that plugs into TVs and other displays via an HDMI port. First launched back in 2013, it lets the user stream video and apps to the screen from their smartphone or laptop. And because it doesn’t need to run intensive apps itself — that’s all handled back on the device streaming to it — it can be sold pretty cheaply: £30 in the UK, or $US35 in the US. That’s significantly less than rival services like Apple TV, the new version of which will cost $US149 (£95) when it launches.
So what’s new in this new Chromecast? Hall reports that it will:
- Offer support for music streaming service Spotify, an app that hasn’t previously been available for it.
- Have “Chromecast Audio,” a way to connect Chromecast to speakers/Hi-Fi systems — meaning users aren’t forced to output sound only through (often-low-quality) television speakers.
- Have better Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Be available in a variety of colours — at least lime green, black, and red, according to photos published by 9to5Google.
- Include “content feeds,” which Hall speculates “probably means adding social media feeds or image feeds that can play when your Chromecast is in its screensaver ‘backdrop’ mode.”
- Have a new “Fast Play” function, which will help connect to devices much faster.
The new Chromecast will apparently be officially announced on September 29, along with new versions of Google’s flagship Nexus smartphones.
We’ve been unable to confirm the rumours ourselves, and a Google spokesperson gave us the boilerplate response that the company doesn’t “comment on rumour or speculation.” But a new Chromecast does make sense: The original device has been successful — it has sold 17 million units as of May 2015 — but it’s now two years old. And earlier this month, Apple announced a new version of its Apple TV service, as it attempts to disrupt traditional television with apps.
A new technology frontier is opening up in the living room, and Google doesn’t want to get left behind.
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