Google could enter the high-end audio market with a new version of its Home speaker to compete with Apple and Amazon, just as the next generation of smart speakers begins to emphasize sound quality.
The search giant is working on a large new smart speaker internally called the “Home Max,” according to a report from 9to5Google. The working prototype has two stereo speakers and is made out of “premium” materials, bumping up the basic $129 Home that debuted last year.
There isn’t much info about the device available, as the sources didn’t share any specs or design details — but a new premium Home speaker makes complete sense when you think about it. Apple brings its luxe HomePod to the market in December, and Amazon just announced new Echo devices that are more focused on audio quality than previous generations. Google needs its own high-quality smart speaker to keep up.
A version of Google’s next-gen Home speaker is rumored to double as a a Wi-Fi router and mesh network, offering owners improved connectivity along with the standard voice control capabilities — but those features weren’t mentioned in the 9to5Google report, so there could be two different devices in development. It’s also unclear if the Max would serve as a true successor to the Home, or if it would be offered as a premium option.
If Google is working on the Home Max, it’s unclear when we might expect to see it IRL. The company has an event scheduled on Oct. 4, where it’s widely expected to show off the brand new Pixel 2 phone and other hardware. Extensive details about the new gadgets and even some official-looking photos leaked out — but there was no mention of an updated version of the flagship Home.
We reached out to Google for comment on the rumor, but unsurprisingly, we haven’t heard back. We’ll see on Oct. 4 if the company has a Home Max ready for our enhanced listening pleasure, or if we’ll have to wait even longer for Google to pump up the volume for its smart speakers.