Earlier this year, Google partnered with a handful of tech companies to offer Smart Displays. Think Google Assistant-powered smart speakers, but with a screen for showing video and information related to your questions and commands.
Now, it looks like Google is preparing to launch a Smart Display of its own, called the Google Home Hub. The computing giant will reveal the Home Hub at a media event scheduled for October 9, according to a report by MySmartPrice.
This event, which is taking place simultaneously in New York and London, is where we expect to see the new Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL smartphones, and potentially also an updated Home smart speaker.
The device will have a 7-inch LCD touchscreen and a similar fabric-covered design to the Home speaker, according to images, below, claiming to be of the HomeHub from the report.
Instead of running Android, the Home Hub appears to have a scaled-up version of the Google Assistant — that's a version Android smartphone users know. Naturally, the device will be seen as a close rival to the Amazon Echo show, which combines the Alexa voice assistant with a display.
Leaked images claim to be of the upcoming Google Home HubMySmartPrice
Leaked marketing material shows how the Home Hub can be used to view photos from your Google Photos library by asking the Assistant. It can also be used to see a live video feed from your Nest connected security camera.
Of course, the Home Hub will also be able to control your smart home, with the leaked documents claiming it is compatible with over 5,000 smart home products from more than 400 manufacturers.
Google's Voice Match system knows who is speaking to the Home Hub. That way, the correct calendar events, reminders and commute traffic reports are given, no matter who asks.
As for the price, a second report by Android Authority claims — according to an unnamed retailer — the Home Hub will cost $149. This is somewhat less than other Smart Displays, such as the $200 Lenovo and $250 JBL Link View.
It will be interesting to see if Google also updates its Home and Home Mini smart speakers, or if the emphasis going forward will be on devices with screens. As convenient as voice assistants can be, the addition of a display should unlock new potential for the nascent technology — and at an attainable price point, if the reports are accurate.
On the difficulties of communicating with a voice assistant, a study published in July branded the experience as being "like the dark ages of 1970s computing." The study likened using smart speakers to interacting with early computers, saying: "The need to memorize cryptic commands, oppressive modes, confusing content, inflexible interactions - basically [they offer] an unpleasant user experience."