This week, Google had us excited about the possibility of two or more new pieces of hardware landing at the company’s recent “Hey Google” virtual smart home event. Apart from the Pixel 4a that at this point could be obsolete by the time it debuts, we know that Google has a new Android TV/Chromecast device in the works as well as a new Nest(Home) smart speaker that is rumored to be the heir apparent to the OG Google Home smart speaker. Yesterday, 9to5Google discovered an FCC filing that pointed to one of the latter two devices on that list. The new hardware is labeled simply “wireless device” which could mean just about anything and the model number, GXCA6, made the device even more difficult to nail down since it doesn’t fall in line with any current products from Google.
As 9to5’s Abner Li points out, Google’s Chromecast devices have carried model numbers that begin with H2 or NC and Nest Home products a generally branded with a model number that begins with an “H” followed by a number. Google’s Pixel phones usually have a “G” model number but it appears that they have chosen to deviate from the usual nomenclature on this product for some reason. Not content with not know which device we were looking at, I dug a little deeper into the exhaustively boring test results found in the FCC filing. This is what I found in the Bluetooth report:
Mode 1 : WLAN (2.4GHz) Link + Bluetooth Link + Max. Volum + Streaming music through WLAN and Bluetooth Speaker + AC Adapter 2
So, we have a device with wireless network and Bluetooth streaming capabilities that is powered by an AC adapter. Further down, you can see the test schematic that depicts a free-standing device that is tethered to a 120V outlet with no displays attached to it. Sounding more and more like a Nest speaker by the minute. Before I could share my discovery, 9to5Google followed up their article with photos from the Japanese Radio Use and licensing website that is similar to our own FCC. The photos reveal an entirely new Nest speaker with the same model number as the one that just passed through the FCC.
You can see in the images the Google “G” stamped on the bottom and subtly embossed onto the sand/not pink fabric on what is clearly the back of the speaker beneath the mute switch and above the power port which a barrel instead of a USB-C like it should be. It’s tough to get a feel for how large this speaker is just by looking at the photos. Initial rumors pointed to something similar to the Sonos One which comes in 6.4″ tall and 4.7″ wide. Looking at the pictures and doing some rough math, this new speaker will have a bit of a larger stance than that. I came up with something in the realm of 8.6″ tall and 5.7″ wide. That makes this speaker approximately three inches taller and nearly an inch wider than the original Google Home speaker. That may be an unwelcome update to some users that want a device that’s discrete but for the audiophiles, this could result in an Assistant speaker with high-quality sound without the price tag of the booming Google Home Max.
The OG Google Home was a great speaker when it was released simply because it heralded the Assistant speaker movement. The audio quality wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. We still have one around the house and it holds its own among our smaller speakers we have strewn about in every room. The biggest knock most users had with the Google Home was the fact that it looks like some sort of hi-tech air freshener. You half expect it to spritz the air every thirty minutes.
This new device will surely carry the new Nest branding and may simply be called the Nest Home but we’ll have to wait for details on that. The look is definitely right in line with the direction that Nest has taken with the Home line of products and if the speakers are really as good as the rumors say, this could be one of the most well-rounded devices for the average room in your house. Personally, my kids love their Nest Minis and in their rooms, it’s perfect. In a living room, kitchen, or places where you may be entertaining, something a bit larger is a necessity but honestly, the Home Max is overkill in most houses unless you live in a warehouse. This new Nest speaker could strike the perfect chord of size, sound quality and price if Google plays its cards right. We’ll keep digging around and see if we can find some more details on the new Nest speaker. I presume that Google will offer a variety of colors. All we need now is details on the internals and a price point and hopefully, Google won’t hold on to releasing this device as long as they have the Pixel 4a.