Google is set to introduce an Android TV streaming device in the coming months, a reimagined dongle with a new user interface that will put a bigger emphasis on individual movies and TV shows as opposed to apps, multiple sources with knowledge of the company’s plans told Protocol. The company will likely extend its Nest brand to the new device, according to one of those sources.
Google’s upcoming streaming device has been described as looking similar to a Chromecast streaming adapter, but will function more like a Roku or Fire TV stick. Whereas a Chromecast needs a phone to launch content, the new device will come with a full-fledged TV interface and ship with its own remote control.
Users will be able to install apps for streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ from Google’s Play Store, and the device will be integrated with Google Assistant for voice control. Like other Android TV devices, it will allow users to cast content, and it is expected to support Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service.
Google will market the device under a distinct brand, separating it from third-party streaming devices based on Android TV, according to two sources with knowledge of the company’s plans. The company is considering using its Nest brand for this purpose, according to one of these people, which would be in line with Google’s recent efforts to turn Nest into the umbrella brand for its smart home and entertainment hardware efforts.
It’s not super clear when Google will release the new dongle. It could happen around the Pixel 4a’s release this month, or it could happen earlier, or later. As Google’s Pixel buds still dropped just mere weeks before the 4a is predicted to, it’s more than clear that the proximity of Google’s product releases don’t influence each other’s launches.
As for the Android TV powering this dongle, Google may also be rebranding that to Google TV, if another report proves accurate. It’s a season of rebrandings.