Google Launches Nest Hub Max With Larger Screen, Video Chat
(Bloomberg) -- Google unveiled a new smart speaker with a larger screen, better sound and video calling, part of a broader push to get its digital assistant into more homes.
The internet giant showed off the $229 Nest Hub Max on Tuesday at its I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California. The new device has a 10-inch screen, up from the smaller version’s 7-inch display. The new model also adds a high-resolution front-facing camera that can be used for video calls and as a Nest security camera.
Google is naming the device under its Nest brand several months after the company folded the smart-home unit into the company’s larger hardware division. The smaller model of Google’s smart speaker with a display, currently priced at $129, is being renamed the Google Nest Hub. It was previously called the Google Home Hub.
The new product also has a Face Match feature to show relevant information, like calendar appointments, to the person looking at it. The additions make it better able to compete with Amazon’s Echo Show, another smart speaker with a screen. Beyond its own smart speakers, Google has partnered with JBL, Lenovo Group Ltd. and other companies on screened speakers running Google software.
Technology giants think voice-based computing could be one of the next big platforms, after mobile. The company that wins will have the most users talking to devices and the most developers creating new experiences. Google’s Assistant and its Home connected speakers came out after Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa and Echo products. That slower start was a disadvantage when it comes to creating a virtuous circle between users and developers. But Google is now a strong second behind the e-commerce giant.
Taken together, Amazon and Google accounted for at least 4 of 5 smart speakers sold in the U.S. last year, surveys show. Worldwide, the two accounted for about 60 percent of sales during the third quarter, according to research firm Canalys.
Beyond the new hardware, Google also announced a few new features coming to its software for smart displays. The company showed a demo where a user can simple stay "stop" to end a timer on a smart display. It also showed personalized search results like podcasts to listen to and recipes.
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