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Google built its own tiny HDMI 2.1 box to jump-start ‘the next generation of Android TV’

Google built its own tiny HDMI 2.1 box to jump-start ‘the next generation of Android TV’


Android 10 is also coming to Android TV today, but don’t expect much

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Today, Google is announcing that Android 10 is arriving on Android TV, and it’s about as bland of an update as they come. Primarily, it’s just the performance and security benefits of Android 10, without a single new user-facing feature. But at the bottom of Google’s blog post, the company hints at why: Google’s busy prepping for the “next-generation of Android TV,” starting with the miniature box above.

Google says this new ADT-3 dongle is a full-fledged Android TV platform, with a quad-core ARM Cortex A53 CPU, 2GB of DDR3 memory, and the ability to output 4K HDR content at 60 frames per second over its HDMI 2.1 port.

Not exactly flagship specs, but HDMI 2.1 is nice

Before you get too excited, know that it’s a developer device. Like its predecessor, the ADT-2, it’s possible you’ll never see one officially available for purchase. After all, the ADT-2 didn’t exactly spawn a wave of new tiny Android TV devices (unless you count Nvidia’s chunky new Shield TV tube).

But as XDA-Developers reported in September, the company’s Android TV road map does suggest that bigger and better things are coming in 2020, including an actual “hero” (likely Google-made, Google-branded) Android TV device with “next-gen” smart home features and support for Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service.

XDA-Developers suggests this ADT-3 may have a role to play in next year’s Android TV ambitions as well. Even if it’s not necessarily a device you’d buy off the shelf, a leaked slide hinted that it may be one that’s designed for cable companies and other operators to white-label. That might be another way Android TV enters your home.

For app developers, Google says the ADT-3 will be available through an unnamed OEM partner. That’ll likely be Asus, if XDA’s report is true. Apparently, the device is produced by Askey, a subsidiary of Asus.

If you’re merely interested in what’s new in Android 10 for Android TV, here’s all Google had to say about that:

Today, we are bringing Android API level 29 with the recent performance and security updates made with Android 10 to Android TV.  We’re excited to provide faster updates through Project Treble and more secure storage with encrypted user data. TLS 1.3 by default also brings better performance benefits and is up to date with the TLS standard. In addition, Android 10 includes hardening for several security-critical areas of the platform.

Update, January 30th, 2020: The ADT-3 Developer Kit, which is indeed made by Askey, is now available for developers to purchase for $79.