Not to be outdone by Apple, Google has unveiled a revamped iteration of its Chromecast HDMI dongle, and for the price, the device sure seems impressive.
Chromecast 2.0 maintains the same $35 price tag fans of the original Chromecast know and love, while at the same time adding a handful of new, exciting features. Now, Chromecast is a round device with an HDMI cable built in, and it’s available in a couple of new colors (orange and yellow). But appearance aside, Chromecast 2.0 packs a serious punch. In an article published by TechCrunch, Google explained that the new product offers three integrated Wi-Fi antennas for super-fast data transfer between your smartphone and the dongle.
The device supports games, too, with a special version of Angry Birds GO launching for Chromecast 2.0 later in the year. According to TechCrunch, the process of communication between the smartphone and the Chromecast-connected HDTV is “ridiculously fast,” and because Google’s device relies on a connected smartphone, there’s no limit to what developers can do in this respect.
Besides unveiling Chromecast 2.0, Google also took the lid off Chromecast Audio: a new device that can turn anything with an AUX output into an Internet-connected speaker. TechCrunch explained:
All you have to do is hook it up and use the Chromecast app to fling your music directly to the speaker. No TV needed, no other special hook-ups necessary. There’s no recompression of audio. Once you hand over the source of content to the Chromecast Audio device, you’re free to use your phone for other stuff. Your speaker, with newly found smarts, will do what it was meant to do — play music.
Sounds good to us. Sadly, built-in AirPlay is still a feature reserved for the higher-end speaker market. Chromecast Audio is the perfect solution for anyone looking to give their regular speakers a smart boost.
Powering all of this is a revamped Chromecast app, and this promises to make it easier for users to find content and manipulate it on their HDTV. You see, with Chromecast 2.0, the smartphone is the remote control; whether you’re playing games or searching for a new TV show, it’s the device you’ll use when firing up Google’s dongle.
With the $35 price point (compared with the $199 cost of a new Apple TV), Google’s Chromecast is an attractive option for anyone looking to configure an Internet-connected home TV setup. Of course, whether it’ll pose a serious challenge to Cupertino’s chances of success in the living room remains to be seen.