Walmart has long been competing with Amazon in almost all the latter’s retail endeavors. A few years back, it launched its new Onn brand with Android tablets to take on Amazon’s Android-based Fire slates but has since then expanded to other products and devices revolving around the modern digital lifestyle. It is no surprise, then, that the grocer giant is also jumping into the HDMI TV dongle market with its own Onn-branded stick recently sighted at the FCC.
TV dongles like these are no longer the hot items that they were years ago but they haven’t exactly died out. They have become that common that they don’t always get media attention unless some big brand like Google or Amazon launches a completely new model. That is the backdrop against which Walmart will be launching its first Android TV stick in 2021.
It’s actually not yet certain whether the device that made its way to the US FCC will run Android TV or Google’s spiffy new Google TV user experience instead. On the one hand, the listing does explicitly name Android TV but, on the other hand, the remote is more like Google TV’s. Eventually, the confusion will hopefully go away and Android TV and Google TV will be one and the same.
As for the dongle’s hardware, it seems to use good old micro-USB and includes a small power brick and an HDMI extension in the box. Curiously, the FCC listing labels it as a 2K streaming stick but the Amlogic S805Y SoC is only capable of Full HD resolutions.
The remote has shortcuts for YouTube, Disney+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video and the stick is reportedly certified to the last two. Entertainment is the one area where Walmart hasn’t been able to directly compete with Amazon but that might matter less for a device that’s mean to source content from multiple providers, including Amazon, ironic as it may sound.