In short: An image of a new “Smart TV Kit” has leaked highlighting Google plans to bundle the upcoming third-generation Chromecast along with a Google Home Mini. There are no details on how much the bundle will cost, although it’s expected this will become available following Google’s October 9 hardware event – where the new Chromecast is expected to be announced.
Background: This is not technically a new kit as a bundle is already available from Walmart and priced at $74. However, besides the inclusion of the currently unreleased third-generation Chromecast, it seems the bundle is being rebranded as a ‘smart TV kit’ when previously the packaging simply highlighted the inclusion of the two devices. As for the new Chromecast, this is actually the second time in a matter of days it has leaked out following reports of Best Buy accidentally selling one earlier than they should have. So the understanding that a new Chromecast — with a new matte finish — is coming is not exactly news in itself. As for the Google Home Mini, the one shown in this latest image is the current model.
Impact: Considering there is already a bundle package available, it stands to reason Google will be updating the bundle to account for the arrival of a newer version of one of the bundled devices. What is more telling here is the clear attempt to rebrand the package as a smart TV kit. This is a likely a move to highlight that the bundle is not only different products packaged together, but ones that are able to work together. For example, while the Chromecast does not come with its own remote control, once the two devices are up and running the Chromecast is capable of being controlled by the Google Home Mini via voice commands. An aspect Google is clearly playing on with the “Hey Google, next episode” tagline shown on the front of the box. In terms of availability, the previous bundle is listed as a Walmart exclusive and so it could be the case this updated version will also only be available via Walmart. Then again, Google may opt to make this new kit more widely available through additional retailers.