We’ve been hearing about the cheaper version of the Chromecast with Google TV for months, and now a new leak reveals new software details, specs, and even the apparent “Chromecast HD” branding.
Kuba Wojciechowski, a developer on Twitter with a history of digging into Google’s software, claims to have obtained a full software release for Google’s new Chromecast, which reveals several details about the device.
The first big takeaway is the name, with the device being called “Chromecast HD” right in the code. It’s not a firm guarantee that this is how Google would market the device, but it does seem quite likely.
Beyond that, we get a better look at the spec sheet. Apparently, the device will come with an Amlogic S805X2 chipset. This chip offers support for AV1 decoding which the existing Chromecast lacks, but the chip is still a pretty significant downgrade from the 4K model. It of course limits video output to 1080p, but just doesn’t have the same raw power as the S905X3 in the Chromecast with Google TV. Further cementing the idea of lower performance, 1.5GB of RAM on the device, a 25% drop from the 4K model.
The other major detail here is that the software will be based on Android 12, making it the first Google TV 12 streamer. The original Chromecast is still based on Android 10.
Although it’s a cheaper device, it clearly seems that Google is learning from some of the mistakes of the “premium” 4K model.
The biggest advantage is that this device will come with support for virtual A/B transparent updates with compression. The effect of this for end users is that updates will likely be more frequent, as this method of updating overrides the storage limitations of the original Chromecast with Google TV. Updates do not need to reach user storage and can instead go directly to partitions. In theory, this should be a huge upgrade on the update front, but that might not matter for major updates. 1.5 GB of RAM will definitely be a bottleneck for future versions of Android – Android 13 increases the memory requirements of many devices to 2 GB.
Could Google adopt this same method on the existing Chromecast? Unfortunately, probably not, as that would require new hardware.
On a related note, our Kyle Bradshaw noticed that this device just went through the Bluetooth SIG, dubbed simply “Google Chromecast”.
“Chromecast HD” should cost around $30.
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