September is shaping up to be the month of new TV streaming boxes. Apple kicked things off with the new app-enabled Apple TV and Amazon one-upped them with a 4K-slinging Fire TV. Now, it looks like Google is getting ready to update the Chromecast before the month is out.
According to photos leaked to 9to5Google, the new Chromecast will look more like the streaming boxes from Apple than Google’s original Chromecast stick, released in 2013. The second generation Chromecast appears to be a puck, available in yellow, red or black. While the photos are too blurry to provide many details beyond that, 9to5Google‘s source did give some specs.
First, the new Chromecast will have 802.11ac WiFi, which is the latest standard available to consumers. That may be what enables “Fast Play,” a new feature leaked to 9to5Google that lets users more quickly start and resume content much quicker on the big screen. The Chromecast is still expected to use a phone for control and playback, but with Fast Play, it should solve one of the biggest frustrations with the streaming media player.
The next generation Chromecast will also support content feeds on the home screen. Right now, users can get weather and custom background art when the Chromecast isn’t playing anything. But the updated Chromecast may be able to pull social media feeds or news feeds, without having to connect to a smartphone.
Google may also be introducing Chromecast Audio, which would plug into any speaker system via an aux in port to play audio from a user’s devices. While Bluetooth adapters have been around for a while, this would likely use WiFi to stream audio. That would enable longer range between the device and speakers, and allow for higher-quality audio playback.
The audio features would pair nicely with rumored support for Spotify, which has been a major holdout for Google’s Chromecast and Cast for Audio. But 9to5Google has also been tipped off that those two are breaking down the barrier in time for shipping these new devices.
Google is holding an event on Sept. 29, where many speculate two new Nexus smartphones will be released. If 9to5Google‘s sources are correct, we may also see a new streaming media player then too.