Smart speakers with screens - Google Home Hub, JBL and Amazon

Judy Cobb
October 13, 2018

The Home Hub screen really doesn't look much larger than a smartphone. Often, the important stuff is buried within several subsections, while the less essential stuff is more prominent.

The Echo Show 2 is £219/$229 from Amazon, so the Google Home Hub is a relative bargain in comparison since it's just £139/$149. It has a display and you can interact with the display, watch it, touch it and see more details. The Home Hub perhaps embodies this move the best, using YouTube for its most useful recipe and music functions, and introducing the Home View dashboard for Nest branded smart home products. This means that going forward there could be features available on one platform that aren't available on another, although only time will tell whether that will be the case.

It comes in four colors: Charcoal, Aqua, Chalk, and Sand. The Google Home Hub costs $149 (~Rs 11,000) in the U.S., but availability in India hasn't been announced yet. The new multi-user support which has been rolled out through the update will allow multiple users under the same roof to control all smart devices at once. Home Hub will weigh 480 grams. Without the need for an extra hub, you can soon use either the Google Home, Google Mini, Google Max or the new display product, Google Home Hub, to control your C by GE bulbs. Google has cleverly designed the speaker so that it doubles up as a kickstand. There's also a physical mute switch at the back you can flip to prevent Home Hub from listening. This time, Google didn't even really mention Android during the presentation, but its subscription apps came up a lot. Will the kind of people who now use Skype or Apple's FaceTime to keep in touch with family and friends really want a separate screen that does much less than a smartphone or tablet?

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Among the devices Google announced at its big hardware event on Tuesday was the Google Home Hub, a Google Assistant device that resembles Amazon's Echo Show by adding a screen to create what is essentially a smart speaker on steroids. The page notes that Google Home now allows users to "play at 2x speed", "play slower/faster", or "play at half the speed". The Google Home Hub has acceptable audio, but it won't fill the room at full volume. One of them is a Smart Light Starter Kit for those who are new to the smart lighting thing.

Access the Google Assistant right in the app: You can tap the mic icon in the Home app to access the Google Assistant directly and control the connected smart devices.

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