Google’s Android TV dongle may have game mode for Stadia

Earlier this month, we released renderings of a marketing video we got of Google’s upcoming Android TV dongle, named “Sabrina”. We obtained the marketing video from a preliminary version of the firmware. What we didn’t initially realize, however, is that the firmware also contains evidence of upcoming hardware features.

If you’re looking for a recap of what we know so far about the design and software experience of Google’s Android TV dongle, I recommend reading my initial coverage or watching the following YouTube video of XDA’s TK bay. .

Developer recognized by XDA dead man96385, who shared the preview firmware version of “Sabrina” with us, discovered some of the hardware specifications of the Android TV dongle by examining the “Device Tree Source” (DTS) files contained in the boot image. The files specify the hardware features of the SoC platform to be enabled during startup.

Since the main DTS file is very long (around 4,200 lines) and difficult to parse without knowledge of Linux kernel development for Android, I will not publish the full file in this article. At the very top of the file, however, we can see two key details of the “Sabrina” Android TV dongle: it has 2 GB of RAM (sml_sabrina_2g) and is powered by the Amlogic S905X2 system-on-a-chip (the reference to g12a below and several references to the codename “meson” not shown below confirm this).

The Amlogic S905X2 is made using a 12nm manufacturing process and features a quad-core processor with 4 ARM Cortex-A53 processor cores clocked at up to 1.8 GHz. The CPU is joined by an ARM Mali-G31 MP2 GPU. The SoC supports video decoding for H.265 10-bit 4Kp75 content, video output up to 4Kp60 over HDMI 2.1, HDR video playback with HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, and more.

The S905X2 is a very popular SoC for Android TV devices, so we’re not surprised to see it powering Google’s Android TV dongle. Here is a partial list of Android TV devices certified with this SoC platform, thanks to our friend @AndroidTV_Rumor:

Other Android TV devices with the Amlogic S905X2 SoC

Pay TV Provider / Brand Model Year Country Maker Code name SoC
Amplia Amplia Television 2020 Trinidad and Tobago Askey STI6160d327 Amlogic S905X2
Antel Vera TV 2020 Uruguay SDMC DV8547 Amlogic S905X2
Canal + Poland Android TV decoder 2020 Poland Skyworth HY4001 / HY40A Amlogic S905X2
Digiturk AirTV IP Box 2019 Turkey SDMC DV8535 Amlogic S905X2
Parabolic television SmartVU + 2020 New Zealand SDMC A7070 Amlogic S905X2
EMCALI 2020 Colombia Coship N9119M Amlogic S905X2
Mecool KM3 2019 China Videostrong KM3 Amlogic S905X2
Mecool KM9 Pro 2019 China Videostrong KM9PRO Amlogic S905X2
Midco eSTREAM 4K 2020 United States SEI Robotics Amlogic S905X2
MINIX NEO T5 2019 SDMC DV8553 Amlogic S905X2
MNC game PLAYBOX 2020 Indonesia Skyworth HP40A / CYBORG001 Amlogic S905X2
Oh Mailing box 2019 Brazil SEI Robotics ETRI02 (SEI531O) Amlogic S905X2
RockTek G1 2020 Taiwan Elebao RT-G1 Amlogic S905X2
SK Broadband B smart tv 3 2019 South Korea Foxconn BFX-AT100 (BFX-UH200) Amlogic S905X2
TADAAM (Telénet) TADAAM box 2020 Belgium Askey STI6160 Amlogic S905X2
CCT 2020 Uruguay Amlogic S905X2
Telecom Argentina FlowBox-F1 2020 Argentina Skyworth HP40A2 Amlogic S905X2
Telecom Malaysia Unifi TV Plus Box 2020 Malaysia Skyworth HP40A3 Amlogic S905X2
Telkom Indonesia IndiHome 2020 Indonesia ZTE B860HV5_Telkom Amlogic S905X2
Transvision Xstream Box 2020 Indonesia SEI Robotics SEI500TR Amlogic S905X2
United group EON Smart Box (OTT) 2019 Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia SDMC SDOTT0202 / DV8519 Amlogic S905X2
Vectra 4K box 2020 Poland SDMC DV8519-Vectra Amlogic S905X2
Verizon Broadcast television 2019 United States WNC JS8V Amlogic S905X2
Yes Yes + 2020 Israel SEI Robotics SEI500Y Amlogic S905X2
Youfone Android TV 2020 Netherlands SDMC DV8519 / Amigo7xYUF Amlogic S905X2

Other Google Android TV dongle hardware features discussed in the DTS file include Broadcom BCM43569 combo chip for Wi-Fi / Bluetooth and Cadence Tensilica HiFi 4 DSP.

XDA-recognized developer deadman96385 also found other cool features of Google’s Android TV dongle in a preinstalled system app called “SabrinaService”. In this application there are references to “ALLM”, which stands for “Auto Low Latency Mode”. It is a feature of the HDMI 2.1 specification which allows the device to send a signal to the connected TV to turn off any post-processing features that may add latency to the video display. Many TVs will market this feature as a “game mode” because it is very useful for reducing lag when playing games. To be clear, the user’s TV will need to have a low latency “game mode” for this to work, but ALLM support means Google’s Android TV dongle will be able to toggle that mode automatically.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this feature was added to support Google’s cloud game streaming service, Stadia. We first reported that Google was planning to bring Stadia support to Android TV in 2020, so it would make sense for Google’s own Android TV dongle to be the first device to support Google’s own streaming service. business cloud games. Stadia’s latest update allows experimental Android TV support, but the setup process is a bit complicated at this time. According to our friend @AndroidTV_Rumor, very few existing Android TV set-top boxes or dongles support low latency automatic mode. However, Sony 2018 and Philips 2020 TVs with built-in Android TV support low latency gaming modes.

Another interesting class in SabrinaService called “GlobalKeyReceiver” refers to the remote having a Netflix button, a YouTube button, and a microphone.

There is a code that suggests support for a long press action on one of the keys, which could be for the mysterious button with the star symbol that appeared in the rendering of the remote that we have published earlier.

Google Android TV Dongle Remote

Remote control possible

Another class from SabrinaService reveals that the dedicated remote control likely connects to the device via Bluetooth, which isn’t surprising. (DFU in the screenshot below refers to “Updating the device firmware”.)

We still don’t know when Google’s Android TV dongle will launch or at what price it will be, but we’re really excited about it coming to market. We have long been waiting for more competition in the mainstream Android TV space which is currently supported by Xiaomi and NVIDIA.

Thanks to PNF Software for providing us with a user license JEB Decompiler, a professional grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.

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