Google’s Next Gen Home Smart Speaker Hub Could Also Serve As Wi-Fi Extender
Smart home products are gaining in popularity, and companies like Amazon and Google want to the ones powering the experience. Here's the thing—if you're buying into Google's ecosystem, you might yourself with multiple devices, even in the same room. For example, you might buy a Google Home smart speaker for voice commands and a Google Wifi mesh router for Internet connectivity. They'll work together, buy why not combine them into a single product?
That's exactly what Google is considering. A paywalled report in The Information has it on some kind of authority that Google is thinking about "a version of its Google Home intelligent speaker with built-in mesh Wi-Fi networking." This all-in-one solution would merge both of Google's aforementioned products into a single box that buyers could place in each room (or as needed).
Beyond that, the report does not go into detail, nor does it suggest a price. At present, a Google Home smart speaker powered by Google Assistant costs $129, or you can $229 for two of them. Google's mesh router also costs $129 for a single unit, or you can pick up a three-pack for $299. This is speculation on our part, but for this to be an attractive solution, Google would likely need to price a combo box in the same neighborhood as these products, rather than add them together.
Should Google go through with this, it would a product that is different in scope than Amazon's Echo speaker products powered by Alexa. Where Amazon currently has the advantage is in the sheer number of commands and partners its smart speaker supports, and it's adding new functionality all the time. But for a consumer wanting an all-in-one solution, Google would be the only place to get it.
It would also be interesting to see how Amazon would respond. While Amazon's Echo products do not currently have built-in mesh networking, it might explore that possibility, especially if Google's product gain traction.