Last year at CES, Google launched Cast, its first real competitor to Apple's AirPlay for easily wireless audio streaming. Since then, Cast has been integrated into a handful of speakers, but it hasn't really gained widespread adoption. That's a shame, because when we tested it with LG's Music Flow speakers, we found it to be simple, reliable to use, and a compelling alternative to AirPlay if you have an Android device.
That should be changing this year, as Google has announced partnerships with a number of other manufacturers to put Cast into more speakers. Companies such as B&O Play, Harman/Kardon, Onkyo, Philips, Pioneer, and Raumfeld are joining LG, Denon, and Sony with building Cast into their systems.
In addition to Cast expansion, Google says that its Android TV platform will be available on a bunch of new TVs this year. Arcelik, Vestel, RCA, Hisense, TCL, and Bang & Olufsen are joining Sharp, Sony, and Philips in putting Android TV on their sets. They will be available later this year.
Apple's AirPlay never got the wide support among wireless speaker makers to really push its adoption forward, and the wireless home audio world is now ruled by Sonos, which uses its own proprietary system. With today's announcement, Google is on its way to getting the adoption that Apple couldn't, which could finally make for a compelling competitor against Sonos. It's not clear when the new Cast speakers will be available for purchase, but expect them to trickle out to stores throughout this year.