9to5Google has spoken with an anonymous source that has spilled the beans on an upcoming sequel to Google’s most popular piece of hardware: the Google Home Mini. After a full 2-year run, the beloved Google Home Mini will be replaced in the Google-made smart speaker line by what we’re told will be named The Nest Mini. Goofy naming aside, this device – if it packs all the features being reported – could be another monster hit for Google’s growing smart home setup.
The list of new features is pretty extensive and exciting, so we’ll list them out and then spend a bit of time talking through each one.
- similar size and form factor as the Home Mini
- similar in price (meaning inexpensive)
- improved sound quality
- integrated wall mount abilities
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- proximity awareness
Similar size: Keeping the Google Home Mini’s form factor (or something close to it) will be a major win. One of the big draws of the original’s design was how out-of-the-way it felt when placed just about anywhere. With Google continuing to keep Mini in the name, I think we’re free to assume it will keep its petite footprint.
Similar price tag: This is maybe the most important part of this upcoming device. Let’s be clear: the Home Mini sold like hotcakes because it was affordable to start with and routinely found on sale or bundled with other things. The Home Mini’s diminutive size and price tag are a major factor in the growth of the Google Assistant, and Google would be wise to remember that with this new iteration.
Improved sound: Probably my least favorite trait of the Google Home Mini is the sound. There is no bass whatsoever and the overall quality is thin and hollow. It bellows the Assistant voice loud and clear, but that is about the only thing it does well from an auditory standpoint. While I don’t expect large stereo sound from something so small, it is possible to get a full and rich experience in something this size: just ask Bose.
3.5mm Headphone Jack: This addition will also be massive. Though it isn’t clear that this is for audio output, I see little reason for an audio input and massive upside to an output. Amazon already leverages this with the Echo Dot and Google needs to follow suit. With a nice set of speakers attached via the 3.5mm port, this little Nest Mini becomes a full-fledged audio machine. I, for one, will have one hooked up to the living room speakers immediately upon arrival.
Integrated Wall Mount: This one just makes sense. 3rd-party wall mounts have been crazy-popular since the original Mini hit store shelves, so building in some sort of system that makes wall mounting easier seems like a no-brainer at this point. Hopefully it is a setup that allows continued innovation and 3rd-party integration, too.
Proximity Awareness: This part I’m not so sure of. In the report from 9to5 Google, they said this could be for something as simple as showing the current volume as you approach, but I could see it working with your home security system as a motion detector when your alarm is set to away, too. It’s all a bit unclear at this point, but it feels like Google could do some cool things with a proximity sensor of some sort on the Nest Mini.
That’s all we know right now, but those are some legitimate upgrades to a device that is already known and loved. If you are like me, you probably already have one too many Google Home Minis around the house. Google will need to make sure and get these upgrades front and center in any marketing it does once the Nest Mini launches to clearly differentiate it from the 1st-gen version that will undoubtedly drop in price once the new one arrives. If all of this report comes true later this fall, I know I’ll be picking up at least one or two of these to take advantage of all the new features.