A MYSTERIOUS Google device is being passed around in screenshot form after allegedly appearing in an FCC filing.
The device, which looks like it might be the next generation of Chromecast, gives us a clue or five about the direction the company is going with its big screen offering because this one doesn't just run Chromecast - it runs the entire Android TV ecosystem - and we know that because the manual was included.
This means that it has the potential to propel users into the world of Smart TV, competing directly with the likes of Roku, Amazon and Apple TV.
This is great news for fans of Android TV, a system which isn't actually bad but hasn't been fully supported. If, as it seems, the future of Chromecast is the full Android TV ecosystem, we might start to see some of the frustrating lists of missing apps start to be addressed, as a Google-branded device will doubtless be backed by a huge marketing campaign.
So what do we know?
Well, its referred to as a 4K ATV Stick with the model number SN5B6AD. So we know it's 4K. It has Google logos on it, so its either the real deal or a Shenzhen fake that will probably be stopped in its tracks by lawyers.
We know it has a quad core Amlogic SoC running four Cortex A53 processors. We know it has 2GB RAM (enough) and 8GB storage. We know the Cortex A53 is HDR capable.
Additionally, we know that the Nexus Player, the last Android TV native set-top box from Google, has just stopped being updated after several years, and it would, therefore, be a fair bet that a successor is in the works.
We suspect it'll be a replacement for the Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Ultra, it'll probably have ‘Pixel' in the name, it'll probably be priced as a loss-leader to compete with its rivals, and we'll probably see it launch at Google I/O where everyone will probably get given one.
We'd expect that it may also be the beginning of the end of the Android TV brand. Google seems to be keen to ditch the Android name on anything that isn't strictly relevant to try and attract more iPhone users - look at Wear OS for details.
Of course, we could be utterly wrong on all of this. µ
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