We don’t talk a lot about Android fragmentation. It’s a thing, it happens, Google needs to reel it in but has had no real need to on their own products until now.
Up until now casting was casting, but with the new Chromecasts out there not all devices bearing the Chromecast name are the same. Spotify Premium only works with the new versions.
This may be a compelling reason to upgrade to some, but for people who don’t particularly want to plunk down the money for another Chromecast, they’re left without the support.
Why does an audio player streaming meh quality need new hardware? Because Spotify wrote it that way.
The original Chromecast is more than capable of streaming any audio Spotify could throw at it, but perhaps it’s unable to handle their DRM stream? Who knows. The result is, at least currently, a fragmented Google ecosystem where you have to purchase the latest and greatest in order to play audio from something that should have been working two years ago.
Maybe the original Chromecast will get an update to address this, but at the moment it’s odd that something that uses so little data and processing power relatively will be required to have new hardware.
Or maybe it’s just Google teaming up with Spotify to make more sales all around.
You can grab a Chromecast Audio here or at Walmart for about $35 if you’re so inclined.