What you need to know

  • There's been movement in the code, and at the FCC.
  • And the current NVIDIA Shield is pretty long in the tooth.
  • But details are still sketchy.

It has been a busy time for Android TV, and its flagship partner NVIDIA. The aging (but venerable) Shield is still getting updates And just over a week ago, a new FCC listing appeared for a new Shield TV. Now XDA Developers has a combination of code and publicly available FCC documents to suggest that there are two new Shield TV devices incoming. They have spent time reviewing the code from the recently released Shield Experience 8.0 to Android Pie. A new device appears in the code of the update to the OS and the Shield specific apps with the codename of "sif". The device is unique from previous models, having no support for USB ports or native TV Tuners.

However, it was also discovered that NVIDIA has more than one new device codename. References were also found for a device called "mdarcy". This codename is remarkably close to the code for the 2017 NVIDIA Shield TV, which was simply "darcy". The source code for both devices appears to support the rumored new Tegra X1 variant that is more efficiently balancing performance and power. This is similar, or maybe even the same chip that is expected in the new Nintendo Switch Lite.

There are a few more clues beyond the code. It was widely reported that a new Shield TV had hit the FCC recently. The FCC filing for an update to the 2017 Shield TV shows the outline of a very familiar device shape. This would line up with expectations of an "mdarcy" update, with better internals in the same casing as the 2015 and 2017 models. However, the other FCC filing has a very different outline than the other models, as first noted by @AndroidTV_Rumor on Twitter. Take a look.

That first image is the underside of the current NVIDIA Shield, more or less. the long rectangle, though? That's new. (And pretty small, from the looks of it.)

Could NVIDIA be planning a 'Stick' model for the Shield TV line? If there are, it makes a lot of sense. The new processor could make it easier to shrink everything down while keeping the speed and power users expect from the Shield. A smaller form factor could sacrifice ports loved by some users, but help hit a price point that could give the Shield TV, and Android TV, mass appeal.

The real question right now is whether these are real commercial products coming to fruition, or if they're something else. Test devices that will never see store shelves, but still have to go through the FCC, because that's how the testing process works. Or maybe it's something else entirely. Either way, it's new. And new is good.

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