So, it’s official. Google will be hosting the company’s annual hardware event in Brooklyn next month and yes, we’re actually going to be there live and in person. (Exciting, right?) Anyway, we’ll be heading to New York to hopefully get our hands on the upcoming Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and the highly-anticipated Pixel Watch.
While Google did make mention of new smart home tech from Nest which will likely include the all-but-confirmed Nest Wi-Fi, rumors are swirling about a new device coming to the Chromecast family. Unearthed all the way back in January of this year, news and leaks continue to pile up that Google is going to launch a new Chromecast with Google TV but this particular model is reported to only support HD(1080P) playback. The new Chromecast is rumored to be a budget-friendly version of Google’s popular streaming stick but the fact that you can pick up the 4K Chromecast for $40 at the moment only adds confusion as to why this new Chromecast even exists. I have to echo the sentiment of Android Police’s founder Artem Russakovskii who simply tweeted “1080P in 2022” with a head slap emoji.
This week, a new report has surfaced from WinFuture that states the new HD Chromecast has already arrived at a trusted retail source. No listings are live at the moment but if this report is true, it is very likely that the rumored Chromecast will be announced at Google’s upcoming hardware event. Now, the only question about this confusing device is “why?” Rumor has it that the new Chromecast HD will be priced around €40 or roughly $30 US. Again, why would you buy this instead of the 4K version that’s only a few more bucks?
I have a couple of theories. Neither one of these theories is backed by any evidence nor do I have any insider information. It’s simply that an HD Chromecast with Google TV for thirty dollars makes zero sense unless there are some puzzle pieces that we haven’t seen. Again, this is purely speculation and perhaps, a little bit of wishful thinking. So, here are my thoughts on what could make this new Chromecast actually make sense.
The last HD Chromecast model was pre-Google TV and it doesn’t include the snazzy interface that you get with newer Android TV dongles and Google’s own Chromecast. That said, it still seems odd that Google would update the basic HD Chromecast simply to add a remote and Google TV. Remember, the 4K model is quite inexpensive and you can pick up Android TV devices like the onn TV from Walmart for $20 and yes, it is 4K.
However, Google has admitted that the current 4K Chromecast with Google TV is lacking in the hardware department. More specifically, the streaming dongle is a bit underpowered to handle the full-fledged app experience and interactive Google TV interface. The more glaring shortcoming of the latest Chromecast from Google is the puny amount of storage. Many who have used a Chromecast of Android TV dongles are painfully aware of the limited 8GB of storage that often prompts you to free up space in order to install a new application.
So, theory number one. Perhaps Google will deliver us an inexpensive Chromecast that’s Google TV ready with a remote and an ample amount of storage. If I could purchase a new streamer that offered up 32GB of storage or more, I would seriously consider buying it over the 4K model with way less drive space. I know that 4K content is becoming more and more common but let’s be honest, does the average consumer really care? I’m not sure but I’d wager that many, if not the majority, are watching mostly 1080P on a normal day. Again, this is just conjecture and may be completely wrong. Still, it would make this device more desirable for the masses. On to theory number two.
Another Chromecast 4K
I know what you’re thinking. “There’s no way Google is going to announce a new 4K Chromecast. They can’t. There has been no sign or leaks about a second device.” That was exactly what we thought as we discussed the new Chromecast HD but then, something hit me. When a new phone, speaker, or streaming device goes into development, there are usually signs to be found. You have open source repositories that contain codenames. There are Bluetooth certifications that are filed and of course, there has to be FCC filings before a product can be sold to the public.
I know that none of this supports my theory but hear me out. If Google wanted to put out a new 4K Chromecast, they wouldn’t necessarily have to develop an entirely new device. The chipset in the current Chromecast isn’t horrible and a little bump in RAM would likely make it run smoothly enough to notice the improvement. Given that fact, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for Google to refresh the 4K Chromecast with some minor but much-needed upgrades while not having to actually submitting new hardware to public repositories.
As far as the FCC is concerned, updates of this kind are relatively simple and the fact that the current Chromecast is already FCC certified means that an updated model would only require and an addendum to the current certification. These types of updates happen all the time in the tech world and they often don’t get submitted to the FCC until weeks if not days before the device is officially announced. Imagine, if you will, a new 4K Chromecast with Google TV that’s packing a little more RAM, way more storage and maybe even a revamped remote. Price it somewhere in the $60-$70 range and the lesser HD model suddenly begins to make more sense.
Anyway, that’s my two cents. I honestly have no idea what to expect at Google’s hardware event but this new Chromecast has me completely bewildered. The good news is that we won’t have to wait for much longer to see what’s new from the folks in Mountain View. We’ll be right there in the thick of things in Brooklyn and we’ll be bringing you hands on with all the new Made by Google toys that come from this event. Stay tuned.