While Google – or more accurately, Alphabet – might already offering grand designs on connected thermostats, smoke alarms and security cameras through Nest Labs (which it acquired in 2014) the company has now unveiled a radical new take on the most ubiquituous ‘smart home’ device – the humble Wi-Fi router.
Earlier this morning, Google unveiled OnHub – a new router co-developed with networking hardware company TP Link.
OnHub is positoned as a new breed of WiFi router – one which, it is hoped, will encourage consumers to place the device where it can be seen. The idea behind this move is that, generally, consumers tend to place their cabled WiFi routers on the floor or out of the way so as to avoid clutter. Google hopes that by developing a more attractive device, it will encourage consumers to place the router so as to ensure an optimum signal strength reaches all available devices.
Google’s motivation for producing OnHub extends beyond basic utility and aesthetics, however. The company intends for OnHub to become the platform for integrating various smart-home technologies under one roof, beyond a smartphone or tablet, as well as to pose a challenge to similar devices to Amazon’s Echo or, potentially, Apple’s upcoming update to the Apple TV.
Similarily to Nest Lab’s connected-home products, OnHub is configured with a smartphone app that is available on both iOS and Android. Additionally, the router will update automatically, display how much bandwidth has been used, offer priority connections to particular devices, and further will display a password to a WiFi signal when tapped.
OnHub is, as of this morning, available for preorder from Google’s online store, Amazon.com and Walmart, and will be offered at retail stores in the US in coming weeks. OnHub is expected to be priced at approximately $200 USD.