At a press event yesterday, Google unveiled a variety of new products, including new NEXUS phones and a new tablet. Most relevant to our market are Google's new Chromecast models. The Chromecast 2.0 has a new shape (round) and comes in a couple new colors (orange and yellow). Google promises better wireless performance for improved video streaming and an improved user experience through the Chromecast app. Google also introduced the Chromecast Audio (shown here), which can stream Cast-friendly music services like Google Play Music, Spotify, and Pandora to any speaker or audio device with an auxiliary input.
Here is an excerpt about the Chromecast devices and related app updates from Google's official blog post on yesterday's event:
Cast ALL the things
Today we're introducing two new Chromecast devices. The new Chromecast has a fresh design, and is easier to plug into TVs with crowded ports. It supports the latest Wi-Fi standards and adapts more easily to changing Wi-Fi conditions in your home, so you get higher-quality video with less buffering. Most importantly, we added two new colors. ;)
Chromecast Audio is a small device that plugs into your existing speakers, so you can stream your favorite music, radio and podcasts over Wi-Fi, similar to Chromecast. It works with tons of apps, including Spotify, Pandora and Google Play Music. Just like Chromecast, it works from anywhere in your home with your favorite devices, including Android, iOS, and laptops. And it's available on the Google Store and other online retailers for just $35--way less than most Wi-Fi speakers today.
We've also updated the Chromecast app to make it easier for you to find great things to watch or to play, across the thousands of apps that work with Chromecast--whether you feel like browsing or want to search for a specific TV show or movie. For Cast-enabled apps that aren't already on your phone, we'll suggest one for you. The updated Chromecast app is rolling out on Android and iOS over the next few weeks.
Your favorite apps... for the whole family
All your shiny devices get even better when you have great apps to go with them. So we're making a few updates to Google Play Music and Google Photos.
First, Google Play Music will offer a new family plan later this year. Up to six people will be able to use one account for a shared fee of $14.99 a month (instead of $9.99 per person). Get the dance party ready.
Sharing is a theme of today's Google Photos updates, too. We're adding Chromecast support to give you that old-school slideshow experience--dimmed lights optional. In the U.S., you can now add private labels to your photos to make it easier to search for specific pics of people with things, places or other people--say, that photo of Mom at the Grand Canyon, or of your daughter with her pet bunny. And soon you'll be able to pool all your photos and videos with friends and family in one place, and get updates as soon as new photos are added. Best of all, there's no setup involved, and you can use any device. So that dance party we mentioned earlier? Now it's easier to gather all the memories from everyone who was there.
• Google's Chormecast 2.0 is faster, more colorful and still just $35 from Engadget.
• Google Announces Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Audio to Bring Intelligence to your Living Room from TechCrunch.