Ah, Chromecast Audio: the peculiar cousin to the vastly-popular Google Chromecast that never really managed to find a solid footing in the market. While being a fantastic add-on to traditionally “dumb” speakers, the Chromecast Audio never really caught on for the general public.
Perhaps part of it was simply consumer confusion or just an example of Google doing what Google does often: making something as a stop gap with zero thought given to that thing’s eventual demise. Allo, Hangouts, Wave, Nexus Q, Google TV, and Nexus Player all come to mind. The full list is much longer.
Either way, the brilliant little dongle that has transformed multiple speakers in my home and office is officially being canned by Google. Citing a lack of need for the dongle in light of all the connected smart speakers now on offer, 9to5 Google reports the least popular member of the Chromecast family will cease production.
I suppose the writing was on the wall, wasn’t it? The Chromecast Audio dongle has been discounted in Google’s store since before Black Friday, so we all assumed the end of the road was near. Add to that the popularity of smart speakers and smart displays with speakers on them (oh, and the ability to play audio over Bluetooth via the ultra-cheap Google Home Mini) and you have a setup ripe for Chromecast Audio’s demise.
Google will still provide support for current and future customers, so buying a Chromecast Audio isn’t a terrible idea even now. As a matter of fact, it might be the very best time to buy one! With deals everywhere on the now-discontinued dongle and support promised for the future, if you were ever considering getting one of these devices, now may be the absolute best time ever.
The Google Store is out of stock at the moment and we’re not seeing any other outlets to snag a Chromecast Audio for the amazing $15 it’s been on the Google Store, but if we do, we’ll be sure to let everyone know.
While I’m sad to see this little guy get the axe, I do suppose the rise of the smart speaker was inevitable, so I don’t really blame Google for flipping the switch. After all, Google Assistant is their bread and butter right now, so it is probably best that they focus on products that can deliver the Assistant to more users on more platforms.
RIP, Chromecast Audio.