Google’s big October 9 hardware event is fast approaching, and that means we’re deep into leak season for upcoming products. The headline announcement is expected to be the Pixel 3 smartphone, but Google usually announces around five different products at these events. Besides the phone, we’re expecting a flagship Chrome OS tablet that doubles as a Pixelbook sequel, a “Google Home Hub” smart display, and now, how about a new Chromecast?
It appears the new “3rd gen” Chromecast is coming, and Reddit user GroveStreetHomie managed to actually buy one at a local Best Buy. Pictures posted by the user show the usual Chromecast hockey puck form factor with a new design—one that replaces the glossy body and Chrome logo with a matte body and a “G” logo. GroveStreetHomie claims that Best Buy’s system correctly flagged the product with a street date of October 9, but the cashier rang the product up as a second gen Chromecast and allowed the customer to walk out the door with it. Apparently the new Chromecast can’t even be activated yet since it depends on a newer version of the Google Home app, which isn’t out yet.
After the initial post, 9to5Google also managed to score pictures of the new Chromecast. These showed off the device in full, including the new FCC ID, which reveals what exactly is “new” in this new Chromecast: it has Bluetooth! For the last few months, this new Chromecast has been popping up in FCC databases with an additional Bluetooth feature, and now it looks like it’s finally launching.
It’s not clear what Google’s plans are for a Bluetooth-enabled Chromecast, but the obvious application would be some kind of remote or game controller. A remote could enable an Android TV-like interface on Google’s streaming stick. A game controller could mean that Google’s rumored “Yeti” streaming gaming service is actually going to launch. One strike against either of these options is that the box doesn’t mention gaming or an on-screen interface as new features. Currently, Chromecasts initially pair to a phone via Google’s “Nearby” technology, which uses ultrasonic waves to communicate with your phone. So it’s possible that this is just the same old Chromecast, but pairing is being replaced with a more traditional Bluetooth-based setup.
We’ll be on the lookout for more Chromecast news during Google’s big event, which is in just a few days.