Google’s Chromecast, which allows about any phone, tablet, or laptop to stream Netflix and other rich media to your television, was a surprise hit for one big reason: It was cheap. Originally released in July 2013 for $35 (and now $28), the small USB-shaped gadget could plug into your TV, delivering most of the streaming fun of a full-fledged smart TV.
Now, it seems the Chromecast is evolving. Speaking at GigaOm‘s Structure Connect conference this week, Google VP of product management Mario Queiroz hinted that a new version is in the works. The catch: We don’t know when it will be released, or what it will do differently.
Queiroz wouldn’t say much about what Google is planning for the second iteration of Chromecast. But he did indicate that Google is “building an ecosystem of different endpoints” in which the Chromecast is one endpoint and other “Chromecast devices” are other endpoints.
“I can say we really want to bring the richness of this first screen–second screen experience to life,” said Queiroz. “The hardware capabilities will give us a better opportunity to take full advantage of a large screen paired with a small screen.”
The first Chromecast wasn’t perfect, and could only be used with a narrow range of streaming services. But for the price tag, most people were willing to put up with a few bugs and other small annoyances (like the exhausting inability to cast multiple shows on Netflix in a row). If Google is going full Internet of Things with the next generation of casting devices, maybe the UI on the phone or tablet end will become more interactive when you’re watching a show, or maybe Chromecast 2.0 will look more like a full-on gaming console. Who knows? Maybe the next version won’t even look like a dongle.
Are you a Chromecast user? What features do you want to see in a new version?