Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Dear friends, we are gathered here today to mourn the passing of a beloved gadget: Chromecast Audio. Yes, Google has decided to end production of the handy little dongle and is throwing its own line of smart speakers — and the entire category in fact — under the bus as the reason for the decision. The news first appeared on Reddit as a rumor, but a Google spokesperson confirmed it to Digital Trends:
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.
In recent months, there has been an explosion of ways that people can transmit their favorite tunes from their phones and tablets, wirelessly to a speaker. From whole home audio systems like Sonos to the inexpensive Bluetooth speakers on Amazon, the number of situations that actually require a device like the Chromecast Audio is probably dwindling. We can only think that sales of the device must have been really slow for Google to discontinue making it.
Nonetheless, for people with non-WiFi, or non-Bluetooth speakers and hi-fi systems, the Chromecast Audio stood out as an incredibly effective — not to mention affordable — option for listening to both local and streaming digital tracks. When we reviewed it, we loved how easy it was to use, the fact that it could handle multi-room audio, and of course, its price. For Android users especially, it was very handy, and tons of companies built support for casting into their apps to take advantage of it. Even iOS users, who already enjoyed AirPlay support on a variety of audio products, jumped on the Chromecast Audio train for its supreme convenience.
Those days are now gone. We would like to say it’s a great time to pick up a Chromecast Audio for cheap, but that might be very hard to do. BestBuy, Walmart, and Target — the three main retailers that carried it — are all showing zero stock on their sites, as is Google’s Chromecast Store. Google’s Canadian online store still has it — though at the regular price of $45 CAD — while BestBuy in Canada has it on sale for $20 CAD.