New Nexus Player hinted at by mysterious mentions of ‘elfin’ in Android’s source code

Google discontinued its original Android-based Nexus Player back in 2016, but new mentions of a mysterious ‘elfin’ in the Android source code suggest that a new streaming device might be on the way. 

The Nexus Player was Google’s early attempt to introduce the world to Android on the big screen (read: TVs). However, in more recent years the player became increasingly redundant as Android TV found a home as a built in OS for smart TVs.

That could all change if these rumours are correct. XDA Developers has noticed mentions of a mysterious ‘elfin’ device in Android source code commits relating to Android Q, which we expect to release around the middle of 2019.

According to the report, the unnamed device is related to both the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Nexus Player in the source code. This doesn’t conclusively point towards it being a new streaming player, but it’s strange to see the Nexus Player referenced in 2018 code.

New Nexus Player features

Although Android TV has superceded much of the functionality that the Nexus Player originally offered, there are still tasks that a standalone Android set-top box are better suited to.

For one, devices like the Nvidia Shield are equipped with far faster processors than your average TV, allowing them to play all manner of Android games on the big screen.

Otherwise the updated player might just be a means of getting Android on TVs equipped with other operating systems built in, such as Panasonic’s My Home Screen or LG’s WebOS.

It’s unlikely we’ll find out much about ‘elfin’ for a while yet. Don’t expect either an announcement or a release before 2019 — if at all.

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