It may be hard to believe, but it's been six year since Google first released its Chromecast streaming dongle. With the device plugged into a spare HDMI port on the back of your TV, you can easily "cast" content like movies and TV shows wirelessly from your smartphone.
However, six years is a long time -- especially for a Google product -- and quite frankly, we're surprised that Google has supported the device for so long. But now that support is shifting to a new phase, with Google announcing that the first-generation Chromecast will no longer receive major updates.
9to5Google was the first to notice Google's "pullback" on the original Chromecast, as the latest stable firmware build for the device is version 1.36.157768. However, the more recent members of the Chromecast family are far ahead with firmware version 1.40.156414.
The original Chromecast is running software based on Chrome 70 browser, which is nearly a year old, while newer devices like the Chromecast Ultra are rocking Chrome 74, which was released in late April 2019. In other words, these 6-year-old devices are missing out on some of the feature advances that have been made in the newer Chrome releases; and that's to be expected.
For its part, Google released the following statement regarding support for the Chromecast, "Chromecast recently celebrated its 6th birthday. We’re thrilled that some of our earliest adopters are still enjoying the first-generation device, and we continue to update it with bug and security fixes."
In other words, Google has your back on with regards to mainstream, maintenance-related items, but you're out of luck if you want to get new functionality. But on the plus side, this continued support seems to suggest that Google has no plans of "bricking" the devices anytime soon.
With that being said, for users of the original Chromecast, perhaps now is the time to take a look at the 3rd generation Chromecast or the Chromecast Ultra, priced at $35 and $69 respectively. The former supports 1080p streaming, while the latter boasts support for 4K televisions.