Chromecast was originally announced in 2013, looking to make TVs smart, by plugging straight into the HDMI port and providing a range of connected skills.
The most recent versions - the Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast third gen - were announced in 2016 and 2018 respectively, but still much very deliver on that original premise of making your TV connected.
But there's rumours that Google is looking at shaking up the Chromecast Ultra, with something new in the pipeline, codename Sabrina. Google might want to reposition this device as part of the Nest family, so might be called the Nest Chromecast Ultra, or something similar.
Here's everything you need to know, based on leaks and rumours so far.
New Chromecast Ultra release date and price
- No confirmed release date
- Price expected to be under $80
There's been very little said about this forthcoming device's release date, but it would make sense for Google to have planned to announce it during Google I/O. Google also planned an Android 11 Beta Show - now also cancelled - meaning that we're short on Google events. Basically, there's no word on when this might be launched.
However, with the new remote passing through various regulatory bodies, it's believed that launch will take place soon.
As for pricing, leaks have suggest that it will be under $80. The aim here is going to be to compete with Roku or Amazon, meaning that it's going to have to come in at a low price.
New Chromecast Ultra design and remote
- Oval pebble-like design
- Will come with a remote
The existence of a new Chromecast Ultra, thought to be codenamed Sabrina, first appeared in March 2020. Those details claimed that the new Chromecast would be similar in design to the current third-gen Chromecast, so it will be a smooth round disc that connects to your TV via HDMI.
The design looks refined from the previous iteration of the design, a little more in fitting with some of the Google hardware design we've seen more recently. We're expecting it to come in pink, white and black colours based on leaked marketing video.
It will also come with a remote, which is said to look like a cross between the Apple TV remote and the Google Daydream remote. It's believed that this remote has passed through the FCC as well as other regulatory bodies, suggesting again that launch is sooner rather than later.
A front view of the remote reveals more details, again very much fitting the norm for streaming devices, with a top directional controller and various control buttons on the body. Those buttons reveal Android-style controls, as you'd expect, including a Google Assistant button for voice control.
There's also a star button - most likely one you can programme yourself - but otherwise the remote looks simple enough.
New Chromecast Ultra features
- Will run Android TV/Google TV
- Will allow Google Play app installation
- 4K HDR support
- Google Assistant
- Dolby Vision support
- Smart home control
The new Chromecast Ultra will change direction dramatically compared to previous versions. So far, Chromecast has only been a link between your TV and online content, relying on a separate device to control it - your phone or laptop for example.
If new rumours are accurate, the new Chromecast will run Android TV - although that might in turn be rebranded to Google TV. That will allow access to services currently open to Android TV - such as entertainment app installations from Google Play - but will also mean that it has a user interface you can control with the remote.
Leaked images from a marketing video show off a new user interface for Android TV on the device, so we suspect it will push out a new content-based focus. There's also the mention of smart home controls so we suspect it will integrate notifications from services like Nest, a little like the Nest Hub.
We expect that the Chromecast will still support casting as the current models do, but allow easier access to services through direct remote control. It's also reported that it will run a new version of Android TV that elevates content outside of apps, to make discovery a more natural experience, to make it better compete with Apple TV and Amazon's Fire TV.
We're still expecting the new Chromecast Ultra to support all the formats it currently does, but for it to be a more powerful device overall - and there's confirmation of Dolby Vision support from the leaks.
New Chromecast: All the rumours so far
Here are all the details in chronological order for the new Chromecast Ultra.
2 June 2020: Meet Sabrina: Google's new Android TV streaming device leaks out
A detailed leak has given us a good look at what to expect from Google's forthcoming device, codenamed Sabrina.
7 May 2020: Google Chromecast Ultra 2 could have remote and run Android TV
Further reports have suggested that the new Google Chromecast Ultra will run Android TV, offering a full user interface, making it a much more approachable device than previous versions. It might also move to Nest branding.
6 May 2020: Google may be rebranding Android TV to Google TV
Rumours have suggested that Google might be looking to shake-up its TV offering, renaming the Android TV system to be Google TV instead.
10 March 2020: Unidentified remote from Google passes through FCC
A remote from Google has been spotted at the FCC, assumed to be the remote for a new Chromecast Ultra.
10 March 2020: Google is planning a second-gen Chromecast Ultra with remote
Reports from 9to5Google detail that Google is planning a second-gen Chromecast Ultra including a remote. The remote will have a mic and a Google Assistant button, and the new Chromecast will also run Android TV.