A new Google Chromecast is on the way with Bluetooth support
Google experiments with a ton of products and services to varying degrees of success. However, few would argue that the Google Chromecast isn’t one of the company’s most successful products. The cheap streaming stick has turned millions of older televisions into media streaming devices. I have even convinced my less technologically savvy relatives to embrace the Chromecast because of how easy it makes streaming online media. Now, it looks like the streaming stick lineup is about to get even better with a new model that has Bluetooth functionality.
Currently, the device is only capable of connecting to devices through a standard Wi-Fi connection. On other competing devices like the Roku 3 and Amazon Fire TV, Wi-Fi Direct is used for connecting to their respective remote controls. The Roku 3 allows you to connect headphones directly to the controller, while the Amazon Fire TV lets you listen privately by connecting to the device through a Bluetooth headset. The Chromecast doesn’t allow for that kind of functionality, but that might change in a future model.
As spotted by @roopakv on Twitter, Google filed a request with the FCC to certify a new version of the second-generation Chromecast. The new version has the same hardware as the original, but with Bluetooth enabled in the chip. Unfortunately, even though the new model is nearly identical to the existing device, the FCC filing states that the existing second-generation Chromecast “will not receive the software update to enable legacy Bluetooth operations.”
The existing second generation device already supports 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi and 2.4GHz Bluetooth Low Energy, but the new one will support standard 2.4GHz Bluetooth radio as well. Exactly what the company plans to do with Bluetooth is unclear right now, but it’s possible they plan on allowing the new device to connect to Bluetooth peripherals such as a keyboard or gamepad. We might hear about this new device at the upcoming Google I/O event next week, so stay tuned to our coverage of the event!