Last week, we wrote that Google had no timeline for the second edition of the Chomecast. Turns out that it does: this week.
That’s the news coming from Google which this week has decided to bring both editions of its follow-up to the tiny Chromecast media streamer to Australia several months after the US first saw them.
“Both editions?” you say with a puzzled face. “Is there more than one?”
For Google in 2016, the answer is yes, with one skewed for people keen to watch media, while the other is made for anyone interested in being a listener.
First there’s Chromecast 2.0, which isn’t being recognised with a “2.0” moniker or model number, but rather just the new Chromecast.
Making this a “new” Chromecast is a different design that brings the wireless connecting media streamer into a smaller form factor that is now smaller, sitting in a flat circle with a bendy HDMI cable protruding from the body that can be magnetically attached to the body when not in use.
You still need a USB port to send power to the Chromecast, so a USB cable and wall plug are included in the box, but the change is in the internals and the way the Chromecast connects to your television.
To evolve this, Google has improved the HDMI connector, shrinking it and making it a little smaller than it was last time in the Chromecast key-configuration, and that’s intentional in this version, because if you have too many HDMI ports that are occupied, this new version will fit better, Google says.
It’s more than that, though, with the wireless streaming improved, too.
“We dramatically improved the WiFi functionality,” said Mickey Kim, Head of Asia Pacific Partnerships for Google Chromecast and TV, telling GadgetGut that Google “created a brand new adaptive WiFi system” for the new Chromecast.
“It has three antennas inside, [and the] WiFi chip selects the best antenna based on the changing home environment,” said Kim, who went on to say that this results in “better quality audio, better quality video, and less buffering”.
To use a Chromecast, you’re still going to need a phone, tablet, or home computer of some kind, and of course there’s the obligatory need of a wireless network at home for the streamer to latch onto.