‘Chromecast HD’ to include Google TV 12, specs confirmed

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We’ve been hearing for months about the cheaper version of the Chromecast with Google TV, and now a fresh leak is revealing 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 build for Google’s new Chromecast, which reveals several details about the device.

The first big takeaway is with the name, with the device being called “Chromecast HD” directly within the code. This isn’t a firm guarantee that this is how Google would market the device, but it seems likely enough.

Beyond that, we get a better look at the spec sheet. Apparently, the device will ship with an Amlogic S805X2 chipset. This chip offers support for AV1 decoding that the existing Chromecast lacks, but the chip is still a fairly large downgrade from the 4K model. It, of course, limits video output to 1080p, but also just doesn’t have the same raw power as the S905X3 in the Chromecast with Google TV. Further cementing the idea of lesser performance is 1.5GB of RAM on the device, a 25% dip from the 4K model.

The other major detail here is that the software will be based on Android 12, making this the first Google TV 12 streamer. The original Chromecast is still based on Android 10.

While it’s going to be a cheaper device, clearly, it does seem that Google is learning from some of the mistakes of the “premium” 4K model.

The biggest takeaway is that this device will ship with support for virtual A/B seamless updates with compression. The effect of this for end users is that updates will probably be more frequent, since this method of updating negates the storage limitations of the original Chromecast with Google TV. Updates don’t need to hit the user storage, and can rather go straight to partitions. In theory, it should be a huge upgrade on the updates front, but it might not matter for major updates. 1.5GB of RAM is sure to be a bottleneck for future Android versions – Android 13 raises the memory requirement for many devices to 2GB.

Could Google adopt this same method on the existing Chromecast? Unfortunately, probably not, as it would require new hardware.

On a related note, our Kyle Bradshaw spotted that this device has just passed through the Bluetooth SIG, dubbed simply “Google Chromecast.”

“Chromecast HD” is expected to cost around $30.

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