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Qualcomm show off Chromecast 4K-capable rival

by on17 February 2015

Snapdragon 800 inside

Qualcomm was always a very innovative company, but it needed a lot of time to master and conquer new markets.

This time, it looks like Qualcomm is working on a Chromecast rival that supports UHD 3840x2160 resolution, that many punters know as 4K. Google's rather successful Chromecast stick can support Full HD (1080p), but not more than that. There is a need for better than 1920x1080 resolution in the future, especially as most high-end TVs are coming exclusively with UHD 3840x2160 panels and streaming providers like Netflix are starting to offer some content in 4K.

Qualcomm's solution can stream 4K and it is using Snapdragon 800 in order to make this high resolution possible. This was Qualcomm's best phone and tablet SoC in 2013, and it can now power the Chromecast rival with 4K. There might be a version with an even faster and newer Snapdragon processor, but for now Qualcomm is demonstrating the red painted stick with a Snadragon 800 inside. We would not be surprised by a 20nm Snapdragon 810 version either. With MHL support over HDMI, the stick could theoretically be powered by HDMI, but this would work only on select devices, and for most others USB power will be a necessity. 

Currently this is Qualcomm's prototype device, a proof of concept. The company wants to show the platform capabilities and it hopes that someone will jump and make a retail / etail product from it, using the reference platform.

The stick can run a full version of Android with a choice of full Android feature support, of just the streaming part. It uses WiFi to handle streaming and it will be possible to use LTE-U Unlicensed frequency and do the streaming over 5GHz LTE. With the right price, this product might actually sell well, but we are sure that Google will refresh its Chromecast with 4K support when the time is right.

Last modified on 17 February 2015
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