Exclusive: Here's The Charcoal Google Home Hub Smart Display

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By John Anon September 26, 2018, 10:00am
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The first proper look at the Google Home Hub smart display in charcoal 

The ‘Google Home Hub’ is one of many devices now expected to be announced by Google during the company’s hardware event, scheduled for October 9. While not confirmed by Google, the device did recently leak in render form, with several images showcasing the white (or “Chalk”) version of the device. To add further weight to those images, and the suggestion the Google Home Hub is coming, as well as acting as confirmation of one of the other color options, here are some new images of the “Charcoal” version of the Google Home Hub. These images were provided to AndroidHeadlines by a reliable source.

Thanks to these images, it can now be taken as confirmation that at the very least the Google Home Hub will be available in a choice of Chalk or Charcoal colors. That’s not to say this product will only be available in these color options considering the Google Home Mini is available in Chalk, Charcoal, and Coral colors, although it's believed the Home Hub will only (at least initially) be available in these two color options, as is currently the situation with the Google Home Max. In either case, the two color options are in keeping with the two colors Google most often uses with its Home-branded device lineup. On the topic of color, it might be worth noting that in spite of the dominant use of Charcoal, these images do suggest the front plate of the device will be white, just like the Chalk version. Therefore, it will primarily be the rear of the device and frame, as well as the base/stand that are different in color -  even the power cable on the Charcoal model is white. Sticking with the design for a moment and unlike the previous leaked images, this new set of images also provides a sense of depth, with the render below highlighting the slant of the stand/base which in turn creates a more natural viewing angle for the display. Though it might also be worth noting the base does not look like it’s adjustable in any way, so the angle seen could possibly be the only angle provided.

As for the device itself, this is largely expected to be Google’s own addition to the smart display market. Due to the nature of this new product line, it is unlikely the Google Home Hub will differ too much in respect of the software - which is consistent across smart display products. Therefore, users can expect a more rudimentary Android Things-powered interface which provides access and visual references to questions asked via the included Google Assistant, along with the ability to watch videos from select providers, stream music, as well as connect to and control various other smart home-related products dotted around the house, including compatible security cameras. Previously, rumors have suggested the Google Home Hub will be missing one key feature found on JBL's Link View and Lenovo’s Smart Display - the ability to make Google Duo video calls. This is due to what seems to be the lack of an included camera. Although this is not confirmed, and in spite of the front render showing an element where the camera would be expected to be located, the front and rear sides shown, as well as the side view (previously unseen) do not show a camera shutoff switch, and this would certainly be there if a camera was included. For example, a very large, clear, and obvious microphone switch can be seen on the rear side, and the same would be the case for the camera.

At present, there is nothing new to report when it comes to the specs, although leaked documents have already pointed to a 7-inch LCD panel in use which makes this product smaller than both JBL and Lenovo’s options. The display will be accompanied by full-range speakers, as well as far-field microphones that will help to facilitate Google Assistant’s listening and feedback capabilities. Also of note, the leaked documents do suggest the ability to make calls using the Google Home Hub, which in light of what seems to be the absence of a camera is most likely referring to the use of voice calls only. If Google does opt for this route, it would likely be to capitalize on a product that is less intrusive than the other options by reducing the smart display from an always-watching-and-listening device to just an always-listening one. At the connectivity level, the Google Home Hub is expected to support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi connections. A point which was most recently confirmed when a device bearing the model number “H1A” passed through the FCC. Although there was no specific mention of this being the Google Home Hub, the self-referenced “interactive video streaming device” is understood to be the same device.

This is largely the extent to the information currently known about this device, other than a recent suggestion the Google Home Hub might retail around the $149 mark in the US. Which is an interesting price point, as this would greatly undercut both the JBL and Lenovo smart display options, as well as the latest Echo Show revamp from Amazon. In fact, in spite of coming equipped with a display, and offering more value dollar-for-dollar, it would mean the Google Home Hub arrives to the market just $20 more expensive than the original Google Home smart speaker. Again, if correct, this would mean Google plans to very aggressively push the Home Hub, and likely as a result of Google having to play catch-up with the likes of Amazon who already has cemented its position in the display-equipped smart speaker market. Of course, the price difference will also likely be representative of the difference in product, as if all the rumors are correct, then not only will the Home Hub be missing the option to make video calls, but will also be touting a smaller display in general, and probably a less premium build quality compared to the options from Amazon, JBL, and Lenovo.

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September 26, 2018, 10:00am
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