Google’s Chromecast range of streaming dongles have been around for almost a decade. Rumours indicate the US tech giant Google as about to launch a new one in the not too distant future…
Over the course of 2020 there have been a number of leaks and rumours about the next Chromecast player, which includes a revamped Android TV interface, 4K HDR support and the addition of a Chromecast remote.
The leaks are pointing to this device being a second-gen Chromecast Ultra, which would make sense given the 2019 launch of Google Stadia (which uses an Ultra to stream games). We’ve gone through the leaks and speculation for the the Chromecast 2020/Chromecast Ultra 2.
Related: Google Chromecast (2nd Gen) review
When will the Chromecast 2020 be released?
A source familiar with Google’s plans said the company hopes to launch the Chromecast Ultra 2 in 2020. May’s Google I/O 2020 was cancelled and no news emerged from the Smart Home Event on July 8th, so we’re still at a loss to when exactly Google will unleash the next Chromecast device.
Related: Google Chromecast Ultra
How much will the Chromecast Ultra 2 cost?
Little has been said about what price the Chromecast 2020 could fetch, but we imagine it’ll fall in line with Google’s previous approach to pricing. The third gen Chromecast sold for £30, while the 2016 Chromecast Ultra was priced at £69.
Considering the spec of this new device, the higher price tag is more likely and reports have also suggested this, with expectations the Chromecast Ultra 2 will be priced around or below $80 (around £65).
What features will the Chromecast 2020 have?
According to 9to5Google, the Chromecast 2020 (codename ‘Sabrina’) will be based on Android TV OS. That brings with it access to Netflix, Disney+, YouTube and Spotify to name a few.
This is a departure from older Chromecast devices, which relied on being told what to stream from a smartphone or laptop, and more akin to a Roku Streaming Stick. The device is thought to be joining Google’s Nest range too, so users can execute smart home features. The device is thought to support support 4K HDR (and potentially Dolby Vision), and it’ll also have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Rumours abound that Google is to introduce a remote for the first time. That would give users an option that doesn’t involve controlling the device with their phone. The remote looks like a cross between the Google Daydream View remote and an Apple TV remote, and speculation indicates it will be kitted out with a microphone and dedicated Google Assistant button.
A source who spoke to 9to5Google indicated the 2020 Chromecast dongle will look similar to 2018’s third generation Chromecast. The device will have a “softer, rounder finish” and an HDMI connections that’s similar to the Ultra but has a design that’s more in line with Google’s current hardware.
XDA Developers got hold of a marketing video for a new Chromecast that was created in October 2019. Taken from a pre-release firmware build, it offers an overview of the dongle, remote and new Android TV software.
In contrast to 9to5Google’s description of the device, the Chromecast 2020 appears more oblong in shape than round. The new Chromecast Ultra will also come in a light pink colourway, alongside the usual black and white.
We can see the remote in the video, but only offers a glimpse at the top half. What we can see is a back button, and buttons for Google Assistant; Home, play/pause/volume control and what looks to be a favourite button.
The video also presents a decent look of the new Android TV UI. At the top of the UI is a search bar and categories, with a carousel of recommended films and TV shows at the bottom.
Google Nest services lokk to have been integrated in a similar manner to how they are in Assistant smart displays, with Nest notifications popping up live on screen. Other clips show the new Google Assistant and YouTube TV integrations in action.