Google is holding a big launch event on October 4th, but somebody let the cat out of the bag early.
Well, here’s one more October surprise (possibly) ruined: Droid Life also reports that Google is set to release a smaller, cheaper version of its Google Home smart speaker. Dubbed the Google Home Mini, the new smart speaker will be powered by Google Assistant, the company’s smart agent, but it will cost $49 and be about the same size as a hockey puck, according to Droid Life.
Behold, the alleged Google Home Mini:
— Droid Life (@droid_life) September 19, 2017
Assuming the report is accurate, the Google Home Mini promises to offer similar features as Google’s original smart speaker, from playing music to giving you the news to turning on your smart light bulbs, all in response to spoken commands.
However, it likely will come with a trade-off in terms of sound quality. It looks like the Home Mini will come with smaller, less powerful speakers than the full-sized Home. You also likely won’t be able to change the color of your Google Home Mini on a whim. That’s something you can do with the Google Home, thanks to its replaceable speaker cover.
Speaking personally, I’m excited for this thing and hope the report is true. In my own experience, the Google Assistant is significantly smarter and more useful than Amazon’s Alexa. I have a few Google Home speakers set up in my house already, and a $49 model would allow me to buy more and have access to Google Assistant in more places.
Even with a new, cheaper model, Google has an uphill climb in the smart speaker market. The Home Mini will compete with Amazon’s Echo Dot, the $50 smart speaker that was the most popular item sold by Amazon on this year’s Prime Day, the company’s annual day for discounts. Amazon’s Echo devices dominate the smart speaker market for smart speakers, and market research indicates the Echo Dot is the leader of the pack.
Meanwhile, Apple, Sonos, and even Roku are reportedly planning to enter the market.
We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update if we hear back.