“Our product portfolio continues to evolve, and now we have a variety of products for users to enjoy audio,” a Google spokesperson said. “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.”
Google’s $35 disk-shaped accessory — a variation of the second-generation Chromecast designed for use with audio apps — plugged into the 3.5mm jack or optical socket of home audio systems, or speakers with RCA inputs with a first-party adapter. Like other Google Cast products, it tapped local Wi-Fi to beam tunes wirelessly from phones, tablets, or PCs on the same network, with support for Hi-Res 96Khz/24bit lossless audio.
Its demise doesn’t come as a surprise, exactly — Chromecast Audio’s hardware hadn’t been refreshed since 2015, the year it debuted, and the price was marked down to $15 for a promotion that kicked off on Black Friday and continues through the end February. But it leaves Google without an answer to Amazon’s Echo Input, which packs a four-microphone array and adds casting capabilities to legacy speakers.
And the timing’s a bit odd, considering that only two months ago, Google introduced speaker grouping for Chromecasts. From November 2018 on, owners have been able to create groupings of devices in Google’s Home app for iOS or Android so that when they queue up a track from iHeartRadio, Spotify, Pandora Premium, or other services, all grouped speakers play it simultaneously.
Mum’s the work on when (or if) a proper successor might emerge, but a few remaining Chromecast Audio units are in stock on the Google Play Store, Amazon, and a handful of other retailers as of publication time. Get them while you can.