Google's entry level speaker will reportedly get a new name, improved audio, 3.5mm jack and more
According to 9to5 Google, not only is Google going to brand its next version of the Home Mini smart speaker with a new name, it plans on making some changes to the device. When Google named its new smart display the Nest Hub Max back in May, it was a sign that the company was moving the entire line of Google Home smart devices under the same corporate umbrella that covers its Nest line of smart home appliances; this makes sense since most smart speakers and smart displays are used inside the home. So the second generation of Google's entry-level speaker will reportedly be called the Nest Mini.
The report says that the Nest Mini might be a little larger than its predecessor, and will offer higher quality sound than the Home Mini. Volume will be louder and the bass will get a boost too (it's all about that bass!). To prove that this new smart speaker belongs in the Nest line of smart home devices, it will supposedly come with a built-in wall mount. And if you've been feeling bad for those companies that make 3.5mm jacks, worrying that the trend in the smartphone industry to eliminate the port might force them to close their doors, we have wonderful news. The Google Nest Mini is expected to be equipped with a 3.5mm stereo jack! The source cited by 9to5 Google, which it characterized as being "reliable," also said that the Nest Mini will have a proximity sensor that could reveal the current volume setting when someone approaches the unit.
The smart speaker market is the hottest tech sector in the world right now
If the Nest Mini is designed to take the place of the Home Mini, it probably will also assume the same price point of $49, although the device is always on sale or part of some promotion. In fact, Best Buy currently has the speaker on sale for $29, a $20 or 40% savings. Meanwhile, you can expect to see the Nest Mini introduced during the same Made by Google event in October that will unwrap the Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL and any other new device that is, well, made by Google.
The smart speaker market is probably the hottest tech sector right now. Global shipments, according to Strategy Analytics, hit 30.3 million units during the second quarter, nearly double the 15.5 million delivered during the same quarter last year. This market is so hot that Google increased its shipments by 74% to 5.6 million during the three month period, and still saw it's market share decline from 20.8% to 18.5%. The company still remains a solid second in the industry, trailing category creator Amazon by only 1 million units during the quarter. The devices are cheap enough to be presented as gifts for almost any occasion and work off a Wi-Fi connection. Not only are the penetration rates still low enough to indicate that there are some more years of decent growth ahead, but many homes are also now beginning to add multiple units.
What really helps Google's position in this market is its virtual digital helper, Google Assistant. The latter has consistently outperformed rivals like Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana and Apple's Siri in a number of tests. Late last year, in a test of smart speaker assistants (as opposed to those found on a smartphone), Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant were asked the same 800 questions each. The assistants were scored on comprehension and accuracy; Google Assistant was the only one that understood each question correctly and also had the highest percentage of correct answers (87.9%). Siri was second, Alexa third and Cortana finished fourth.