Details of Google’s Upcoming Android TV Streaming Device Leak
Google is expected to release a new Android TV streaming dongle this summer, and it will look like a version of the current Chromecast with a remote control, according to leaked renders first revealed by XDA-Developers. The device is expected to be named Sabrina and will likely fall under Google’s Nest branding.
The pre-release firmware in the leaked information included a marketing video that is likely what comes up after installing Sabrina. It explains how to use the device, which resembles an elongated Chromecast Ultra, with the option of pale pink to go with the black and white variants. The remote isn’t fully visible, but there is a Google Assistant button, suggesting the streaming experience will use the voice assistant, probably similar to how Amazon Fire uses Alexa. The two rivals would also appear to share a similar integration with smart home devices, with the Android TV potentially showing alerts from other Google Nest devices in the home.
Other details are still speculative about Sabrina and Android TV. The device is rumored to come out this fall, although it could end up being delayed like other tech affected by the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. Earlier rumors suggest the dongle will cost $80 or less. It will have to be considerably less to make it competitive with Amazon Fire and Roku, who are the likeliest competition for Google’s offering. The Roku 4K dongle and remote costs just $40 while Amazon’s 4K Fire Stick is $50. To be worth $80, Google will need to have some very attractive exclusives, like games for its Stadia video game streaming service. Based on the screenshots, the actual viewing experience will have at least one notable difference from Amazon and Roku. Instead of each Netflix, Hulu, etc. each having its own app, the shows look like they’ll all be available on the home screen.
Show and Tell
Google will need all of the benefits it can muster to build on Chromecasts’s market share successfully. Amazon has become increasingly aggressive in smart televisions of late. New partnerships with JVC, Grundig, and Toshiba are expanding the list of televisions embedded with Amazon Fire, and the latest Fire Cube and Anker Fire TV soundbar add even more options for those looking to buy a smart TV. Roku has been making a similar play in signing on new television and soundbar makers. That’s always been Roku’s system, to the point of being in a third of U.S. television. For Amazon, televisions are more of an overall smart home strategy, albeit a significant aspect as Amazon Fire has grown to more than 37 million users, actually beating Roku’s 30 million or so active users. Of course, that competition doesn’t preclude some cooperation, like the Alexa skill available for Roku. Amazon and Roku aren’t the only competition Google faces in smart televisions. Amazon and Roku are both competing for just about half of all U.S. smart television operating systems. Technavio lists Samsung, LG, and Sony as the three largest TV makers worldwide, and each has its own OS. The final version of Sabrina will need to stand out to make an impression on the market.