At Google’s event yesterday evening, the company unveiled the previously leaked Chromecast, but this isn’t a Chromecast 2 as we first thought it would be, this is the Chromecast Audio, a similar concept but with a focus on music streaming rather than every media.
Google announced that they’ve so far sold 20 million of the little media streaming dongles, so it’d seem like now is a good time to release a new, updated version, and they have… sort of. This time however it has a focus on audio, what’s more, it’s set to work with almost any speaker.
Like the Chromecast of old, which turned your television into something much smarter, the Chromecast Audio offers the same for your speaker system offering music streaming wherever you may be.
The new disc-shaped device swaps out the HDMI input for a standard 3.5mm audio port, which allows you to use an auxiliary cable to hook up the Chromecast Audio into the back of your speaker or receiver. It also supports RCA or Optical Audio outputs if that’s more suited. It also comes at an affordable $35, much like the original Chromecast.
With a focus on audio, you can expect the usual suspects when it comes to streaming over WiFi like Google Play Music, Pandora, and any app that supports casting. Yep, that also includes Spotify. Spotify has finally come to the Chromecast, something many have been crying out for since the launch of the original device.
Chromecast Audio will also support multi-room streaming at some point in the future, but it feels however, like a bit of a homebrew work-around. To have this work, you’ll need a Chromecast Audio for every device you wish to add WiFi music to, and with various speakers having different inputs, you’ll also need different cables for each. And you’ll need to hook it up to a power supply.
It’s an option, at least. Though are you really going to spend over $100 just to get two or three rooms capable of streaming your favourite track? It’d probably be easier to just carry the speakers with you.
Currently the Chromecast Audio is listed as “coming soon” to both the Google Store and Currys PC World. In the UK the device will be priced at £30.