Another day, another tech product that bites the dust. Google’s highly underrated product Chromecast Audio has met its end. If you’re interested in soon-t0-be-obsolete technology, you can still buy the Chromecast Audio for $15 (down from its original price of $35). As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
The Chromecast Audio dongle was launched back in 2015. It was an easy solution for wirelessly streaming music to any speaker from phones, tablets, and laptops. The speaker only needed to have either an analog or digital audio input.
Now that Google markets its own speakers, the need for a Chromecast Audio slowly started to fade away. As Google Home and Home Max started growing in popularity, people realized they would rather have the whole package rather than a dongle that they needed to fiddle with. So it wasn’t the least bit surprising when Google decided to pull the plug on this device.
The company told Techcrunch:
“Our product portfolio continues to evolve, and now we have a variety of products for users to enjoy audio. We have therefore stopped manufacturing our Chromecast Audio products. We will continue to offer assistance for Chromecast Audio devices, so users can continue to enjoy their music, podcasts and more.”
While Chromecast Audio was a great solution for people who wanted to stream music or podcasts to their favorite set of speakers, it was always a niche product and many people had never even heard of it before the announcement of its demise.
The downside of the dongle was the need for separate speakers with a built-in wireless streaming feature. It was always possible for people to connect their devices with those kinds of speakers via the 3.5mm jack and stream without an issue, so the dongle was largely redundant.
Now that most speakers support Bluetooth, even a 3.5mm jack seems obsolete.
Google made it clear it wants customers to buy its Home speakers rather than go for the cheaper option of getting a dongle. It is also worth noting that all Google Home devices have built-in Bluetooth support so they can sync with practically any Bluetooth-supported speaker.
Google could soften this blow by adding an audio-out port to future Google Home products, but it seems highly unlikely that it will make this call. But if it does change its mind, it will give the Amazon Dot a run for its money. The Google Home Mini didn’t have an audio out, which was one of the device’s biggest shortcomings.
Google says that it will continue supporting the product for now, so it might not be a bad investment if you don’t have a Bluetooth speaker at home.