After our editorial yesterday about the future of the Chromecast several readers commented that Google had just received an FCC approval for a new Bluetooth version of the Chromecast.
This was first spotted by Roopak Venkatakrishnana on Twitter. According to the FCC filing Google is asking to add Bluetooth to the Chromecast 2. The question now is what will Google do with a Bluetooth Chromecast 2.
This model has a new model number but from the sketches in the FCC filing it looks exactly like a Chromecast 2.
So what would Bluetooth add to a Chromecast? First, it would let you add a remote to a Chromecast giving you the long requested physical remote. This is something many have wanted but something Google has seemed to be unwilling to offer.
Second, you could, in theory, send video files through Bluetooth to a Chromecast second generation. That would give you the ability to watch videos on your TV even without a Wi-Fi network. I’m not sure about the ability to stream videos from your phone over Bluetooth but Windows and others already support sending video files over Bluetooth.
This update seems similar to Roku’s update last fall. They made a few changes, like a new remote, but the physical device itself was almost identical to the 2016 Roku Stick.
I could see Google keeping the Chromecast 2 as their low-end device now with Bluetooth and using the recently approved Android TV dongle to replace the Chromecast Ultra price point. For now we are likely looking at a fall 2018 release date is likely, which is just in time for the rumored Android TV dongle.
One last note. Some readers have pointed to a Google rep who said that the Android TV dongle being handed out to developers won’t be sold to customers. Yet if you look at the Android TV dongle approved by the FCC you will see a few alterations like a Google logo missing from the developer version. We still believe it is possible that Google intends to release an Android TV dongle likely to replace the Chromecast Ultra in the pricing lineup, keeping the refreshed cheaper Chromecast 2 at the $35 price point. If Google didn’t plan to make a consumer product from their dongle they could have easily just handed out a cheap Android TV box instead of spending the money to build a high-end Android TV dongle.
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