Along with their announcement that the Chromecast app would be rebranded as Google Cast, the Mountain View company unveiled a new site to showcase the technology. Included in the site is a section devoted to speakers with Google Cast capability built in, thus with no need for the Chromecast Audio dongle.
Google Cast speakers differ from their Bluetooth counterparts in a number of ways according to Google. Chief among these are the improved sound quality and that music from your phone or tablet continues streaming on the speakers even if you move onto other activities on your device. They differ from other wireless speakers in that the audio is streamed directly from the cloud, at the exact sound quality as the source. Your phone or tablet merely serves as the control device rather than actually transmitting the audio stream over WiFi.
There are already thousands of Google Cast-enabled apps including the ones we’d expect such as Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, etc., so it’s likely that your music streaming service of choice is already Google Cast-capable. As for the speakers themselves, Sony and LG have some available now, ranging from $99 (currently 50% off regular price at Best Buy – cheaper than Sonos’ entry-level speaker) to $1499. Other manufacturers including B&O Play, Harman/Kardon, Onkyo, Philips, Raumfeld and Vizio have them “coming soon.”