Google is reportedly planning to release a smaller version of its Google Home smart speaker later this year. The features available in the mini Google Home are not yet known, but if the reports are true, Google Home could be complemented by a series of smaller, potentially cheaper speakers that you can place throughout your home. This is similar to how Amazon Echo owners can leverage Echo Dots to spread voice control and music throughout their homes.
The new smart speaker will reportedly be part of a lineup of hardware announcements from Google this fall. These will also include a new Chromebook Pixel and two new Pixel smartphones, a source familiar with the matter told Android Police. This isn’t Google’s first fall hardware event; last year, for example, the company unveiled the Pixel, Pixel XL, Daydream VR headset, Google Wifi, Chromecast Ultra, and Google Home.
While the AI involved in translating human words into digital actions can be complicated, the most important factor in determining the purchase of a speaker is pretty simple: price.
A survey by Morning Consult conducted earlier this year found that price was the single most important determinant in whether consumers buy a smart speaker. That’s probably why the $50 Echo Dot was the top-selling item on Amazon’s Prime Day in July.
A lower-cost Google Home — which at $129 is cheaper than an Echo ($179) but more expensive than two Echo Dots — could help Google compete against Amazon and other tech giants who plan to launch their own smart speakers in months to come.
The Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker with Microsoft’s Cortana inside (price still unknown) is due out this fall ahead of the holiday season, the biggest time of year for the relatively new hardware category. Starting at $349, Apple’s HomePod is due out by the end of the year. Facebook is meanwhile reportedly working on a smart speaker that may be released in early 2018.