A new Google Chromecast is in the pipeline, with the specs of the updated streaming device previewed in recently-revealed test filings. Expectations for the streamer are fairly low, though if you’ve found yourself frustrated by wireless hiccups when trying to beam higher-resolution video it might still be enough to tempt you into upgrading.
Google currently offers two versions of the Chromecast. The cheaper of the pair was released in late 2015, and is currently priced at $35. A more expensive Chromecast Ultra followed roughly a year later, and added 4K video support.
Outwardly, the new Chromecast – model number NC2-6A5B – is expected to look like that $35 model. Indeed, there’ll be two main differences, Variety reports based on a freshly-released FCC filing, both internal. First off, there’ll be an improvement to how the Chromecast handles 5 GHz WiFi.
Specifically, there’s now “a 0.5 mm trim on the 5GHz PCB antenna trace,” Google’s engineers write in the filing, “that increases the 5GHz maximum antenna gain from 2.1 dBi to 4 dBi.” That should make for better performance on the 5 GHz network, and thus reduce the likelihood of jitters or interruptions when streaming high-definition content.
The other change to this new Chromecast is Bluetooth. That has actually been present, in hardware at least, since the 2015 Chromecast began shipping. Google hadn’t actually activated it, however.
That is reportedly set to change this time around, though what Google will do with it is unclear. One possibility is making device discovery easier: with Bluetooth, nearby devices – such as a smartphone – could more readily complete the handshaking process with a Chromecast plugged into a TV.
The new dongle’s announcement is expected to take place at Google’s upcoming October event, where it will share the limelight with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Meanwhile, Google is also said to be working on a Smart Display of its own, packaging the Google Assistant into a touchscreen home hub much in the way that Lenovo did last month.