Sony was one of the first companies to offer Cast-enabled speakers. Instead of buying a regular speaker and then plugging in a Chromecast Audio, you could save on power outlets and wires and just grab one with Google Cast capabilities built right in. The problem with these speakers, as some of you have discovered, is that their software updates seem to be totally reliant on the manufacturer.
So when Google's own Chromecast Audio got an update to support Hi-Fi audio and multi-room (aka grouping) back in December of last year, owners of some of these speakers had to wait, and wait, and wait, and wait a bit more to get the same functionality on their own speakers. Read More
Back in May, Cody unveiled strings in the Google Cast app version 1.15 that pointed to an upcoming "Chromecast Preview Program." It was clear from the code that the app would start offering an opt-in option for users to test new versions of the Chromecast firmware before they're released to the public. But for months, the Preview Program was nowhere to be found in the app.
In the last couple of days, we've received a couple of tips from users telling us that the option has now shown up for them inside the Google Cast app. And now it's finally been officially announced by the Google Cast team. Read More
Vizio has been teasing its new Google Cast speakers for several months and they're now finally, officially official. The new SmartCast Crave series has two speakers and they both look positively badass with a satin aluminum grille, but I have to say I'm mostly smitten by the 360.
The Crave 360 has a tubular shape reminiscent of the Amazon Echo, and uses it to blast tunes in 360 degrees. It's meant to be a portable and stationary speaker in one, with an 8h battery life and a wireless charging base that you can pluck it on and take it off whenever you feel like bringing it to the garden, park, balcony, or just moving it around the house. Read More
I've had my eye on JBL for about a year now, ever since Cameron (we miss you Cam!) reviewed the company's Xtreme and Flip 3 speakers and came away more than impressed. Cam knows his music and sound, so his recommendation stuck with me until I spotted the speakers at a local reseller and thought I'd ask the customer rep to test them. The sound quality, clarity, and volume blew me away. But my main holdout for purchasing any JBL speaker was the lack of Google Cast integration. I know the Chromecast Audio exists, but I'd rather have something with the feature built-in, to avoid more unnecessary wires. Read More
What photo manager doesn't let you show off images in a slideshow? Google Photos, it turns out. If this is news to you, then you're finding out right at the moment when the situation is changing. Google Photos has now added a slideshow option. Read More
If you've been waiting to "smart" up your home theater's audio, Vizio may have just given you incentive to pull the trigger on a purchase with its new SmartCast sound bar collection, launched today. They start at just a paltry $180 for the basic 38" three-driver sound bar and go all the way up to $500 for fully-equipped 5.1 systems. What makes them smart? Well, they're Google Cast enabled right out of the box, meaning you can cast audio to your Vizio SmartCast speakers just like a Chromecast, and that's pretty damn cool.
At launch, Vizio has nine configurations available, so there's probably a setup that fits in a price:performance:practicality bracket for you. Read More
Amazon Echo is about to have company. As the New York Times reported, Google has a competing device in the works, and it has the full weight of the search giant's natural language processing behind it. If you haven't already heard the name, you could probably take a guess. It's Google Home. Read More
The Google Cast app doesn't get much attention these days. It's the type of software that remains installed on our phones, but rarely opened since it is rarely needed any time other than to set up Wi-Fi on a Chromecast. Otherwise, it stays out of the way and doesn't need a lot of updates. Still, a seemingly minor version bump occurred last week and it might be giving away a couple of pretty interesting details about future plans for our favorite streaming dongles.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (application packages) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
A long time ago, Sony Electronics had a reputation for stubborn adherence to its own proprietary formats. Back when the iPod was just an MP3 player, Sony was still trying to promote its own ATRAC standard that was only available on its own hardware. ATRAC itself was a descendant of MiniDisc, another semi-proprietary format that tried to usurp the CD... not long after Sony had lost the BetaMax war. The company doesn't always lose - Blu-ray is a notable exception - but it doesn't learn very quickly, either. Read More
The Chromecast was just the start of Google's growing list of Cast-enabled devices, so it came as little surprise when Google announced the Chromecast app would be taking on a more inclusive name. It's now Google Cast in v1.14, and you can grab it from APK Mirror. It also looks like the app shows your other Cast devices, which would make sense given the name change. Read More