They say that imitation is the best form of flattery.
The new Google OnHub looks, well, almost identical to the Amazon Echo — both are cylindrical towers. Google’s is a Wi-Fi hub that’s designed to be a central controller for everything Google-owned or “approved” that can keep you entertained through your TV (or Android phone or tablet) or anything that can make your house smarter. So, Nest, for example, can be controlled via talking to the new Google OnHub.
The 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac hub also integrates Bluetooth 4.0 as well as some of the newer so-called smart home protocols — for example, Weave and Thread. And, OnHub is also built using IEEE 802.15.4, the building blocks of Zigbee, which everyone who attends CEDIA knows all too well.
The insiders of OnHub includes 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, a speaker, a microphone (so you can talk to it) and it runs using the Qualcomm Atheros IPQ8064 chipset.
Conceptually, Google (and all their approved vendors) will design products that connect to the OnHub and are controlled by talking to them — “turn the AC down, turn on the TV and switch it to Netflix, lock the front door and turn on the oven.” So, this could help change control, forever.
But, Google will be competing with Apple (and their HomeKit protocol), Amazon Echo and, of course, companies like Control4, Crestron and AMX will try to stay relevant in this onslaught of giant companies coming into their home space.
This will be an interesting year or two and the home control market is no-doubt going to change, forever.
Details on the Google OnHub are here.