It seemed certain that Google would announce a brand-new Chromecast streaming device at its October 9 Made by Google event in New York City. We did see a slew of new hardware announced, including Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones and new Pixel Books, but an updated Chromecast was notably absent.
That’s not to say there isn’t an updated Chromecast. First reported by Android Police, a Redditor was accidentally sold a third-gen Chromecast at Best Buy. The Reddit thread creator, GroveStreetHomie, says the item didn’t pop up in Best Buy’s point-of-sale system, so the customer service representative used the SKU from a current-gen Chromecast in order to force the sale through. As such, the streaming dongle was sold for $35.
A later leak posted to Reddit showcased the upcoming Chromecast device as part of a “Smart TV Kit,” packaged alongside the company’s Google Home Mini device. This pairing won’t come as a huge surprise for those in the United States; the company has been selling a Home Mini and second-generation Chromecast bundle at Walmart for some time.
Following the Made by Google event on October 9, the updated Chromecast did appear on the Google Store, but aside from a different look, there were no announcements of new features. The new Chromecast is slightly thicker than the current version, replaces glossy plastic with a matte-black finish or a smooth white option, and uses Google’s “G” logo instead of the company’s Chrome moniker.
There appears to only be one new change in the updated Chromecast: Bluetooth is no longer relegated to the setup process. You can now use the wireless connectivity to connect additional hardware such as headphones or possibly even a keyboard. The new model also supports 4GHz Wi-Fi and multiroom audio. This seems to be a minor update at best, but at least it’s something more than a color swap.
Meanwhile, Roku and Amazon have been busy bringing new devices like the impressively capable $40 Roku Premiere and the $50 Fire TV Stick 4K. If you want a 4K-capable Chromecast, your only option remains the $70 Chromecast Ultra, which seems pricey compared to the most recent offerings from Amazon and Roku.
The Chromecast itself still sells for $35, but that’s not the only way to buy. Two bundles are available: One that pairs the Chromecast with a Google Home and another with the Chromecast, a Google Home Mini, and a Nest Cam. For more information, see the Google Store.
Updated on October 9, 2018: Updated to add information about pricing and bundles.