It has been two years since the Chromecast 3rd gen was released and nearly 4 years since the Chromecast Ultra, but it looks like we will get some new hardware soon.
A recent Android TV dongle, code-named “Sabrina” was revealed in a marketing video. Now a pre-release firmware build for the device has identified some of the hardware specifications by examining the “Device Tree Source” (DTS) files contained within the boot image. The files specify which hardware features of the SoC platform to enable when booting.
Google Android TV Stick Specification
Withing the code it is revealed the device will have 2GB of RAM and is powered by the Amlogic S905X2 system-on-chip.
The Amlogic S905X2 is fabricated on a 12nm manufacturing process and has a quad-core CPU with 4 ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores clocked at up to 1.8GHz. The CPU is joined by an ARM Mali-G31 MP2 GPU. The SoC supports video decoding for 4Kp75 10-bit H.265 content, video output at up to 4Kp60 over HDMI 2.1, HDR video playback with HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision, and more.
It is possible that this may actually be the S905Y2 which is effectively the same but lacks ethernet support and uses USB 2.0.
These chipsets are quite old being launched in 2018, they are however used widely with other Android set-top boxes including the MINIX NEO T5 and the Verizon Stream TV.
No AV1 Support
The downside to that chipset is that it does not support the new royalty-free AV1 codec, which is backed by Google as well as Amazon, Apple, Netflix and others.
Netflix recently started to stream in this format for compatible devices, but there are not many options on the market.
The Mediatek Dimensity 1000 is the only chipset for mobile phones to support it.
For Android boxes you have:
- Broadcom BCM7218X
- Amlogic S905X4 & S908X & S805X2
- Rockchip RK3588
Google Sabrina Android TV Stick vs Chromecast Ultra
While the specs do look a little disappointing, it is still a big upgrade from the current flagship Chromecast Ultra.
That uses the Marvell Armada 1500 Mini Plus which has two Arm Cortex-A53 CPUs running at 1.2Ghz with 1 GB RAM DDR3L with no word on what the GPU was.
So with the Google Sabrina you get double the cores all running at 50% higher frequencies and twice the amount of RAM.
Broadcom BCM43569 Bluetooth+Wi-Fi with low latency for Google Stadia
Sabrina will also come with a Broadcom BCM43569 Bluetooth+Wi-Fi chip and will have a feature called ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). ALLM is a feature that will automatically toggle on game mode on TVs with the feature. Game Mode actually reduces latency when playing games on a TV and it appears Sabrina will be able to automatically turn it on on supported TVs. This feature is believed to point at Sabrina having support for Google’s game streaming service, Stadia.