Earlier this year, clues indicated that Google was working on a new streaming video dongle that would both replace the Chromecast Ultra and run Android TV. But now, thanks a new round of leaks, we suddenly have a much better look of what that device could actually be.
Based on product renders obtained by XDA Developers (thanks to user deadman96385), Google’s dongle, internally codenamed Sabrina, sports a more oval-shaped body than the Chromecast Ultra and notably also comes with an included remote. This is a big change from Google’s previous streaming video efforts, because devices like the Chromecast Ultra require users to pull up content on their phones before casting it to their TV.
The remote itself features a handful of buttons, including a dedicated Google Assistant button, along with buttons for Home, Back, Favourites, Play/Pause, and Mute. The device is also likely to come with an IR blaster so users can configure it to work natively with their existing TVs. Unfortunately, because the renders don’t show the entire remote, it’s unclear if the remote will also feature dedicated buttons for third-party streaming services like Netflix or Hulu (though that’s unlikely).
Furthermore, it seems Sabrina will also run full Android TV, instead of being limited strictly to casting duties, with the screenshots in the renders suggesting that Google has some relatively major UI overhauls planned for its TV platform sometime in the future.
Like a lot of other recent Google products, its TV hardware will be available in flat black and white, along with a pastel pink colour reminiscent of the “Not Pink” hue Google introduced with the Pixel 3. And as you’d expect from a Google device, Sabrina is expected to support a wide range of Android TV apps, along with native YouTube TV integration and support for voice commands with a built-in remote microphone.
Sadly, while previous reports claimed that this new Android TV dongle could cost as little as $US80 ($116), there hasn’t been any additional details about when Sabrina will officially get announced or go on sale (though I’d bet sometime in the early fall).
Still, considering that the Chromecast Ultra originally came out way back in 2016, a new streaming video dongle from Google has been long overdue, so it’s nice to see that Chromecast and Android TV fans could have something new to look watch out for later this year. And for people looking for expanded support for Stadia, Google’s new device could double as both a great video player and relay for their cloud gaming needs.