Google’s Android TV-powered streaming dongle has been rumoured for a while now, but a new report finally reveals details about the upcoming device. Codenamed ‘Sabrina’, the new dongle is the much-awaited successor to the Google Chromecast series, and will be a standalone streaming device with more capabilities than the Chromecast series of devices. The device could also come with the latest version of Android TV, and will have its own remote and a refreshed user interface, according to the report.
The report by XDA Developers explores the new Google Android TV dongle – codenamed Sabrina – in detail, showing images of the device itself, as well as the remote and the user interface. The images show an oval dongle that will likely be anchored to the HDMI port on the user’s television, and appears to be a bit larger than the current Chromecast devices. Since the device will reportedly run Android TV, it will be a standalone device with no continuous reliance on your smartphone, as is the case with the Chromecast. This will bring it in line with competitors like the Amazon Fire TV Stick devices.
The images of the remote in the report show a compact unit, with the direction pad and a few buttons showing. As expected, the Google Assistant button is highlighted on the remote, suggesting that voice controls will be a large part of the feature set on the new device. There’s also no word on the official branding of the device. Although the codename is known for now, it’s possible that Google will go with its ‘Nest’ branding to tie the device in with its existing range of smart speakers and displays. It’s also likely that it will come with support for 4K streaming, along with HDR up to the Dolby Vision format, in our opinion.
A key part of the experience will be the software, and Google is known for pushing new versions of its Android and Android TV software with its own hardware. Android TV is long overdue for an update, and it’s likely that the latest version would roll out with the new Google streaming device. Images in the report show a freshly designed user interface that goes with a content-first approach, similar to how competing smart TV operating systems do things. This points to the new version of Android TV, rumoured to be re-branded to ‘Google TV’.
The idea of an Android TV-powered standalone device is anything but new, and Google’s entry into the space is surprisingly late. That said, the new Google streaming device will offer a fresher and cleaner Android TV experience than existing devices, such as the recently launched Mi Box 4K. The Google device is expected to be priced higher than the current crop of Android TV streaming devices though; reports have suggested that the device will be priced at around $80 (approximately Rs. 6,000), suggesting that it will be priced to compete with premium streaming devices such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Nvidia Shield TV.
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