Sony's BRAVIA Smart Stick Offers Google TV In A Dongle

Don't look now, but Sony may be in the early stages of a renaissance. We wouldn't feel comfortable calling it a "comeback," but Sony definitely has fallen from its highest points of relevance. In the past few years, the company has taken full control over its mobile unit (producing a number of high-quality Xperia units), shown prowess in the 4K HDTV sector, shown intelligence in pricing in the PlayStation 4 a full $100 less than the base Xbox One, and now, showing that it understands what consumers in the here and now are after. Sony has no doubt been challenged as a business, but it's devices like this that have a great chance of making Sony the buzzworthy name that it was back in the Walkman days.

Google has stumbled upon a major success with the $35 Chromecast. HDMI dongles are far from novel, but combining a $35 price with a trusted name such as Google has led to a product that is nearly sold out everywhere. Sony is clearly hoping to ride that bandwagon with the BRAVIA Smart Stick. It's shaped much like a Chromecast (it's a basic HDMI dongle meant to plug directly into most any HDTV made over the past few years), but here's the kicker: Google TV is inside.

That's right; it's even more advanced that the Chromecast, as the Smart Stick has a full build of Google TV onboard. Granted, Google TV hasn't been a huge hit, and in fact, many partners have walked away from the project. On top of that, Sony's own BRAVIA apps are loaded in there. While the details of its functionality remain under wraps, we do know that there will be a picture-in-picture function that'll allow a TV program to run in one window while an Internet or app window runs in the other; this could very well be the ideal second screen scenario.

Plus, since it's running Google TV, it can handle Android apps from the Play Store. The device has yet to be fully unveiled by Sony, so pricing and a release date remain under wraps, but it could be an awesome stocking stuffer this holiday season.