There were few surprises today at Google’s hardware event. We saw the reveal of the Nexus 5X and 6P along with the Pixel C tablet — all of which have been leaked in the lead-up today’s announcement. The same goes for the next two devices that Google officially revealed today: the second generation Chromecast and Chromecast Audio.
As we saw earlier this month, the new $35 Chromecast takes on a more rounded shape, which is available in black, yellow and red. We don’t quite understand the need to offer colorful options when it will be plugged in, out of sight, into the back of a TV. With that said, Google says that the new Chromecast should be easier to plug into a free HDMI port thanks to a long, flexible HDMI cable that will allow the device to fit into tight spaces without blocking other A/V ports.
On the internal front, Google has upgraded the Wi-Fi to adhere to the 802.11ac standard and has included three antennas to improve streaming performance. Google has also added a sort of prefetch technology, which it is calling “Fast Play.” The feature is said to preload streaming content so you spend less time waiting for your TV shows and movies to load.
With that being said, you should be able to enjoy all the benefit afforded by the first generation Chromecast along with better performance across the board — just don’t expect to find 4K support.
As for Chromecast Audio, as we revealed in a previous article, it turns your ordinary speakers into a wireless “smart” device courtesy of a dongle that incorporates a 3.5mm audio port. It allows you to stream music over Wi-Fi and of course supports Google’s music services along with competitors such as Spotify and Pandora.
There are a few downsides, however. For starters, not every speaker setup has a 3.5mm audio connection and you’ll need a separate Chromecast Audio device for every room (should you want to go that route). And at $35 a pop, things could get pricey pretty quickly.
Both the new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio are available to purchase today from the Google Store.