Sony is looking to take on Google's Chromecast with a Google TV dongle offering of their own. We got hint of the Sony NSz-GU1 at the beginning of August when it showed up at the Federal Communications Commission. Those FCC documents have been updated with more information about the device, as well as some photos so we can get a look at it.
The Sony NSZ-GU1 is going to be the first Google TV device to launch since the $35 Google Chromecast was announced at the end of July. The new Sony hardware is a bit of a cross between a set-top box and a dongle. The design is a little odd, though. It has a strange stepped design, where the HDMI/MHL port is sticking out from under the bottom of the box. This is because the dongle can be powered by that MHL output and the USB connection when hooked up to a BRAVIA TV. The short user manual that's included in the updated FCC documents explains this a bit. There is a very small diagram in that user manual showing the dongle plugged in to the side of a television, like the Chromecast dongle or the Roku Streaming Stick.
Just like current Google TV units, the NSZ-GU1 has HDMI passthrough and an IR blaster for remote controls. The remote diagrams that appear in a separate FCC filing look similar to the remotes for the NSZ-GS7 and GS8 Google TV boxes. The new Sony dongle is powered by a Marvell DE3108 SoC. Not the most powerful processor, but it should get the job done. It also has 8GB of internal storage and 1 GB of RAM. The video output is limited to 720p for some reason. This looks very similar to Chromecast, but it will have the full set of Google TV features. With specs like these, the dongle probably won't be too expensive. We don't have any idea of when it will launch yet, but we imagine Sony will want to have this available for the retail holiday season. Sony has made some of the best Google TV boxes to date, so this dongle should be decent.