Google is reportedly preparing to launch a 2nd-generation Chromecast in September. Like the original Chromecast, the new model is expected to be a small device that connects to the HDMI port of your TV, and allows you to stream media from the internet while using you phone, tablet, or computer as a controller.
But according to leaked documents obtained by 9to5Google, the new model will have better WiFi, support for a few new features, and a new, more colorful design. There’s also a pretty good chance this is the Google “multimedia device” that showed up at the FCC earlier this month.
While I wasn’t sure what to make of the FCC listing when I first spotted it, the round label suggests a round device… and the photos posted by 9to5Google make it look like the new Chromecast will have a round balloon-like design.
So aside from the design, what else is new? Among other things, the 2nd-gen Chromecast support 802.11ac WiFi, while the original model topped out at 802.11n. There’s also support for “Fast Play,” which is supposed to be a way to load up content more quickly, reducing the amount of time between the moment you press the Cast button on your device and the moment content shows up on your TV.
9to5Google also reports there’s support for displaying content feeds on the Chromecast home screen. Currently you can use the backdrop feature to show photos, weather, and news on the Chromecast home screen. It’s possible that Google will expand on this in the future… and I’d be surprised if it needs new hardware to work, so it could find its way to the original Chromecast as well.
It also looks like Google could be planning to launch another device called Chromecast Audio. It would be a small, round device that you can connect to a speaker with a 3.5mm audio cable. This would give you a way to stream music to just about any speaker… or set of speakers, allowing you to stream music to multiple rooms in your house.
According to 9to5Google, both the new Chromecast and the Chromecast Audio device will be unveiled on September 29th… which is the same day we’re expecting to learn about Google’s new 5.2 inch and 5.7 inch Nexus smartphones.
Of course, Google hasn’t actually commented on any of this yet, so we don’t know for certain that the new Nexus phones, Chromecast 2, or Chromecast Audio will be announced that day… or ever. Stay tuned…