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Google re-certifies 2nd-generation Chromecast with FCC to enable Bluetooth

A new filing with the FCC this afternoon reveals that Google is updating the second-generation Chromecast launched in 2015 with Bluetooth functionality. Carrying a new FCC ID, it’s currently unclear what Bluetooth will be used for, while one document explicitly states that existing Chromecasts will not receive these capabilities due to regulatory reasons.

The 2015 Chromecast was approved with FCC ID NC2-6A5, while the new version — which retains the same model number — simply appends a ‘B’ to the end. According to a reference report letter, NC2-6A5B contains the “same hardware as the original,” but “enables BT in the chip set” to support “BT radios.”

Original FCC ID: A4RNC2-6A5/IC ID: 10395A-NC26A5has the same board design and mechanical design as new FCC ID: A4RNC2-6A5B/IC ID: 10395A-NC26A5for the Chromecast multimedia device.

The older devices already supported 2.4GHz Bluetooth Low Energy, but this update allows for full 2.4Ghz Bluetooth. This is in addition to existing 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi capabilities that the Chromecast has always featured.

Google included the original reports from the original 2015 filing as “spot testing determined that original data … is still valid” with “no new emissions” created.

This submission was filed with the FCC in late April and includes a request for temporary confidentiality for external and internal photos, test setup photos, and user manuals.

Update: As spotted by a commenter (thanks Andy!), a “product attestation letter” included in the filing explicitly notes that the existing Chromecast model “will not receive the software update to enable legacy Bluetooth operations” due to regulatory reasons:

A software change is being implemented to enable legacy Bluetooth operations. Because this new mode requires a new equipment code (DSS) not covered by the original certification for FCC ID A4RNC2-6A5, the new version of device requires a new FCC ID. For clarity, devices bearing FCC ID A4RNC2-6A5 will not receive the software update to enable legacy Bluetooth operations.

Google has yet to announce updated software for existing Chromecast devices or detailed what Bluetooth allows for on these Google Cast devices. It’s also unclear whether these new devices have arrived in stores yet.

On a very nerdy aside, the FCC IDs for Chromecasts continue to be amusing. NC2 can be interpreted as NC² or NCC, while 6A5 converts from hexadecimal to 1701. NCC-1701 is the registry for the USS Enterprise, with NCC-1701-B being the starship’s successor. Meanwhile, the Chromecast Ultra’s FCC ID is NC2-6A5-D or NCC-1701-D, the Enterprise captained by Picard.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: