New Chromecast with Google TV could be a potential firestick killer
Following a series of leaks from XDA Developers, a new Chromecast dubbed ‘Sabrina’ is set to be unveiled at the upcoming Google Launch Night In. It’s been two years since the last generation of Chromecast devices and judging by all the information available, the Sabrina will set a standard for all future iterations to come. Leaks for the device range from the specs to the packaging, though all information remains unconfirmed until the Launch Night In event on September 30th.
Rather than their annual I/O event, The Launch Night In will be a cosy alternative to show off their new hardware and will more or less function as a Google Direct. The main focus is on their new flagship phone the Pixel 5 though it’s possible that the Sabrina could steal the show. The last generation of Chromecast did little to improve the formula aside from the 4K functionality and while it’s a great little device, it struggled to hold a candle to its competitors.
That’s where Sabrina steps in
Along with the normal functionality of previous Chromecast models, Sabrina is packed in with Android TV rebranded to Google TV making it a fully-fledged Android box. Packed in with the device will be a power cable, a couple of AA batteries and a sleek new remote, featuring voice support and dedicated buttons for YouTube and Netflix. Third-party app support will also be included, leaked images of the UI already show the inclusion of Prime TV and Disney Plus among others.
Rather than follow the look of previous Chromecasts, Sabrina fits snugly within Google’s rebranding strategy, resembling more of a squat Home Mini. Leaks found on 9to5 Google show off the ‘Snow’ white model as well as the new UI in a hands-on video. More colours shown so far are a black variant and a light pink colour which we’re guessing to be ‘Summer Melon’ but rumoured colours are Cosmos Blue and Rock Candy. With this leaning so heavily into match the look of Google’s current products it’ll be no surprise if this sets the standard for all future Chromecast devices to come. As the name suggests, Sabrina will be able to do more than cast a spell or two.
What does this mean for Stadia?
It goes without saying that we’ll be seeing Stadia integration but how will Sabrina take the platform to new heights? One of the main concerns consumers have with Stadia is latency, not a big problem depending on your Wi-Fi but button delay makes games unplayable if your connection suffers. Thankfully we can expect to see a low latency mode, what will essentially be a gaming mode for TV sets supporting HDMI 2.1. With DolbyVision support also rumoured we can hope to see games running at 4K with ease.
In the grander scheme of things, this sets Sabrina above the competition, functioning as a gaming/streaming hybrid and hopefully enough to push Stadia further into public view. Not only that but now that the Stadia controller is compatible with pretty much any modern Android phone.
It has also been confirmed that we will see Bluetooth support which opens up more avenues for Stadia as it allows people to use any controller from PS4 to Xbox one controllers, not only that but with Bluetooth support further down the line, we could see controller support for steering wheels for racing games.
Along with Sabrina, we are hoping that Stadia will see a UI update for the Chromecast version of Stadia, as currently, the UI we have at the moment is slow and just not very well laid out, but this could be due to the current Chromecast Ultra holding it back, so it will be interesting to see if Google does change anything.
While this all sounds very promising it remains unconfirmed despite the credibility of all the leaks shown. The Google Launch Night In is just under a week away and then all will be revealed. For anybody wanting to catch the show, Google hasn’t said where it will be streamed yet we imagine you can catch it on their YouTube channel on September 30th at 11 a.m. PT, 7 p.m. BST and 2 p.m.