Changes are apparently afoot in the world of Chromecasts and Android TV, with rumors that Google could be about to launch a brand new streaming device – and swap the Android TV branding for Google TV at the same time.
According to sources speaking to Protocol (opens in new tab), Google is planning a new Chromecast-like streaming device that adds extra functionality. It sounds as though it would be more like the Nvidia Shield TV, with its own storage and operating system, and it backs up similar reports we heard in March.
The current Chromecasts made by Google simply relay streams from the web, and are controlled by a separate phone or laptop. Up to this point, Google has mostly left the bigger Android TV boxes to third-party manufacturers.
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This new piece of hardware could change that – Protocol's sources say that the device is going to be similar to a Roku or Amazon Fire TV Stick, that it will focus on movies and videos rather than apps, and that it might have the Nest branding.
Naming and renaming
Meanwhile, 9to5Google (opens in new tab) – the site which first broke the news (opens in new tab) that an updated Chromecast-style device was on the way – is reporting that Android TV is very soon going to be rebranded as Google TV.
We don't know when this is going to be happening, or why it's happening, but 'Google' certainly has more brand recognition than 'Android'. You may remember that Android TV was originally called Google TV, so the circle might soon be complete.
The bottom line is that Google could be about to debut a brand new streaming device, with the Nest branding instead of the Chromecast branding, and with Google TV on board rather than Android TV.
Google usually hosts an IO developer conference in May, but the coronavirus has scuppered it for this year. If the plan was to launch this new hardware at the 2020 conference, then we might be hearing about it any day now.