Everything we know—and don’t know—about Google’s new smart speaker
The cat’s out of the bag as far as Google’s latest smart speaker goes, with the company essentially confirming the rumored Home successor on Thursday with a coyly worded email containing a snapshot and a video of the unannounced device.
Many key details about the new Google smart speaker are still shrouded in mystery, but we can tease out a few facts by studying the official photo and Google’s brief teaser video.
What we know about Google’s new smart speaker
Google Assistant is onboard
Well, no duh, but given that Google gives so little away in its teaser video, we might as well notch this one as one of the few certainties. In the brief video, a man on a sofa says “Hey Google, play some music,” and four telltale LEDs on the new speaker (speakers, actually, there two of them) light up as the music begins to play. So yes, Google Assistant confirmed.
You can connect two of them as a stereo pair
Like I just said, there are two new Google speakers at the beginning of the video, and they’re flanking the man who’s sitting on the sofa, with their LEDs flashing in unison as the music plays. It’s safe to say we’re looking at a stereo pair here—again, not a huge shock, given that you can already connect a couple of Google Nest Minis as a stereo pair. But still, we’ll take what we can get.
The sound quality is…good?
This one’s more of an educated guess, but based on earlier rumors about the new Google smart speaker, not to mention the fact that Google’s teaser video kicks off with tunes, it’s a safe bet that the new speaker boasts enhanced audio quality, probably closer to the sound of the Google Home Max (which the new speaker resembles) than the somewhat iffy audio quality of the smaller Google Nest Mini.
It’s shaped like a potato sack
Or like a pillow standing up on its end, or a huge Apple AirPods case covered in fabric. Work with me, people.
It comes in at least two colors
The new speaker in Google’s official photo has a hue that’s similar to the “sky”-colored Nest Mini, or maybe closer to the “chalk” version (I’m not that great with colors), while a second speaker in the teaser video looks pink. So, different colors!
It’s about 8.25 inches tall
Since Google is tacitly confirming the leaked speaker photos from yesterday, we’ll feel free to scour them for clues, and according to a ruler in the snapshots, the new speaker is about 210 mm tall, or about 8.25 inches. That’s nearly two inches taller than the discontinued Google Home (which the new speaker is presumably replacing), and more than an inch taller than the imposing (albeit considerably wider) Google Home Max.
There still isn’t analog audio jack
Looking closely at the leaked photos again, the new Google speaker doesn’t appear to have an analog audio jack for a wired connection to an external speaker. Now, if the new Google speaker does indeed come with better audio quality, the missing audio jack might not matter as much as it does on the Google Nest Mini, which could use some help in the sound quality department. Still, duly noted.
It has a barrel-shaped charging port
Google seems to be moving away from USB power for its smart speakers as of late. The Google Home Mini had a microUSB charging port, but its successor, the Google Nest Mini, swapped it out for a barrel-shaped proprietary charger. Based on the leaked photos, the no-USB-charging trend continues with Google’s latest speaker.
It doubles as a hat stand
The man in the video put his hat on the speaker. That’s funny!
What we don’t know about the new Google smart speaker
What it’ll be called
Google didn’t toss out any descriptions in its teaser photo or video, so the name of the new speaker is up for grabs. Whatever it’s called, it’s a safe bet that it’ll come with Nest branding. Oh, and the name of the image file that I got from Google PR? “Nest image.”
Since we’re all assuming the new speaker is the successor to the iced Google Home, conventional wisdom suggests it’ll be called…the Google Nest Home. Or maybe the Nest Home 2. Or maybe more of a music angle: the Google Nest Music, or (I got it) the Nest Beats (wait, Apple won’t like that.) Anyone?
When it’ll arrive
Besides the lack of a name, Google didn’t spill a release date in its speaker tease, either. Google has held October events for Pixel phones and smart home products in prior years, but based on how 2020’s going, history won’t help us much here. My guess: sooner rather than later.
How much it will cost
There’s no name, no release date, and (you guessed it) no price tag either. The original Google Home retailed for $129 and then dropped to $99, but early chatter on this new device suggested that Google was eyeing it as a Sonos One competitor. The One sells for $200, which happens to be the same price as Amazon’s new music-focused speaker, the Echo Studio. If I had to play The Price is Right, I’d say Google will go for a sub-$200 price for the new speaker, maybe even $150. Then again, if Google is aiming more for a mid-range Amazon Echo market, the new speaker-to-be-named-later might wind up closer to $100.