Google may be releasing an Android TV dongle in the near future.
According to Protocol, Google will be launching a new Android TV streaming device sometime within the next few months. It'll also reportedly be in "dongle-form." This suggests that it would more or less replace Google's own Chromecast devices moving forward. And it could be the same device that was rumored a couple months ago.
Of course the older devices would still work. But Google could choose to not make any more Chromecast devices. At least not in name. And really, it kind of makes sense.
An Android TV dongle would be fairly similar to that of the Roku stick and Amazon Fire TV stick. Both dongles which you can plug into an HDMI port and load apps onto.
The Android TV dongle will have a UI that is focused on content
When it comes to the UI on a Chromecast, there isn't much of one. It's just a screen with a photo backdrop and that's it. Then you cast content to the device and it streams it for you.
The Android TV streaming device will apparently have its own UI. Likely that of the most recent Android TV UI that you can find on currently available Android TV products.
The dongle will come with its own remote too. So you won't need to connect your phone to it by casting content. Everything will be accessible from the device itself and controlled with an external remote.
While the Chromecast functionality might have been a bit simpler, this new approach is certainly more familiar to consumers.
The device will be marketed under a distinct brand
At this point many people are familiar with the Chromecast and with Android TV devices. But for Google maybe it isn't recognizable enough.
This upcoming device is said to be getting a launch under a distinct brand. With suggestions that it may be labeled under the Nest branding. At first you might not think it makes a whole lot of sense, but Google has already done this with numerous other products.
The Google Wifi is now Nest Wifi. Google Home is now Nest Home. It wouldn't be too outlandish for the Chromecast to follow this path. It is after all considered a device for the "home" category. And rebranding it as a Nest device would keep things unified for Google with the other home devices under the Nest label.
Keeping that in mind, this is said to only be a consideration. Which means Google may choose to label it under a different brand. When it launches, it's rumored to cost around or below $80, though no pricing has been confirmed yet.