If you thought Sony bungled up its PlayStation 5 pre-orders, then you might find yourself face-palming over this Google mess. To be fair, overeager retailers may have been the ones that jumped the gun with the PS5 brouhaha and they may be to blame yet again for pushing the “sell” button too early. It appears that both Home Depot and Walmart have already started selling the Chromecast with Google TV, a.k.a. “Sabrina”, two days before Google even has the chance to fully reveal what it is.
Of course, given how things have been leaking in torrents these past weeks, there might be little left for Google to announce anyway. But it’s one thing to see the device in leaked hands-on photos and quite another thing for retailers to actually start selling and sending retail units to buyers. Of course, it’s also another matter that there will be people willing to buy a device without knowing the full and official details just yet.
For better or worse, Home Depot and Walmart have not only put the $49.99 device on shelves but have actually allowed customers to buy them, even online. It works better for all of us in the end since we’re getting a glimpse of what Google will be announcing in two days. Unfortunately, it’s not all good news.
Chromecast with Google TV is so different from its predecessors that it may have as well been called by a different name. It runs Google TV, which is being reported as simply a Google-specific skin over Android TV the way Pixel phones have an exclusive Android identity as well. It could have very well been called the Pixel TV and none would have been the wiser.
Even more worrying are the clues that the dongle may not support Stadia, which would be a rather perplexing situation. Stadia works both on the Chromecast Ultra and Android TV so one would presume it would work for this Google TV as well. Guess there will still be at least one thing left for Google to confirm in its hardware event on Wednesday.