In short: A new Anker speaker featuring Google Assistant has now shown up at the FCC, suggesting it is one step closer to becoming available to buy in the US. Besides the included ability to make use of Google Assistant and voice command features in general, Anker has focused on offering a premium design with this is speaker. Although, to many, it will simply look like a kettlebell.
Background: Anker first announced the “Model Zero” during CES 2018 although at the time it was launched under the company’s ZOLO brand as the ZOLO Model Zero. During the original announcement there was no firm mention on when the Model Zero would arrive to market, and while that is still the case the ZOLO website is currently listing the Model Zero as coming in the Fall of 2018. Which ties in nicely with the unit having now shown up at the FCC. However, the documents, images, and even the manual listed on the FCC show the Model Zero as arriving as a Soundcore-branded product. While Soundcore is another of the brands owned by Anker, the company very recently re-branded Soundcore as “Soundcore by Anker.” As part of the re-brand, the company is pushing the 'premium sound and quality’ angle which is likely why this new premium design-focused product is arriving in the US under the Soundcore brand and not ZOLO.
Impact: There are plenty of Google Assistant-enabled speakers nowadays and while this simply marks the arrival of yet another, it is one which will look to set itself apart based on the design and build quality. The shape alone makes it unique with Anker describing the ZOLO-branded version as having been “sculpted from artisan materials to create a masterpiece of aesthetic expression.” The Model Zero is said to be made up of a combination of brushed aluminum and woven fabric and utilizes the unusual shape as a means for the “high-end drivers to deliver superior sound performance,” while also making it easier to transport. However, the pictures made available by the FCC show this version might not come with as much brushed aluminium as the original press images suggested, unless the company plans to launch more than one version to cater to different markets. At the time of the original ZOLO announcement, there was no mention on how much the Model Zero will cost when it becomes available, and although the FCC listing suggests this new Google Assistant speaker is now closer to a US launch, there is still no from confirmation on the price.