It looks like there's yet more new hardware on the way from Google: following the unveiling of its revamped Nest smart home gadgets, another "wireless streaming device" has passed through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US.
Filings with government regulators are standard practice for new devices and usually happen not long before launch. As spotted by Android Police (opens in new tab), the documentation accompanying this new piece of hardware doesn't give away too much about what it is.
We can always make some educated guesses though: the Chromecast with Google TV was launched in September 2020, so it's not out of the question that there's an upgraded version of the dongle in the pipeline for September 2021.
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This isn't necessarily a Chromecast though – it's worth noting that the Chromecast with Google TV was listed as an "interactive media streaming device" in its FCC filing, which suggests it's in a different category as far as Google is concerned.
As 9to5Google (opens in new tab) points out, the new listing is very similar to one for a "wireless streaming device" that we saw back in March, and which now seems to apply to one of the Nest cameras that have just been announced. These devices aren't on sale yet, so it's possible that this FCC filing refers to one of them (or a variation on one of them).
At the moment, we just don't know for sure, but it's going to be interesting to find out. Google usually hosts a big hardware launch event later on in the year, and the 2021 edition of the show is going to include devices such as the Google Pixel 6.
Analysis: Google's big hardware moment
While Google might excel at web apps, software and services most of the time, its record in hardware is much more patchy. There have been some successes, including the Chromecast, but there have been plenty of misses too (Google Daydream, anyone?).
At times it's not been clear whether or not Google is fully committed to the hardware side of its businesses. Everything about the Google Pixel 5 felt a little half-hearted, and it certainly wasn't a top-end flagship phone – though perhaps we can put some of that down to the global pandemic and widespread chip shortages.
However, the signs are that before 2021 is out, Google is going to make its biggest hardware push yet. CEO Sundar Pichai has already talked about "deep technology investments" in the lineup of hardware coming later this year, which will include the Pixel 6 phones and possibly the device that's just been spotted at the FCC.
When Google puts its mind to it, it can produce some really great gadgets as well as really great software, and we're hoping that its devices from 2021 onwards get the time, attention and funding that they deserve.