In what came as a surprise to few, last month saw Google announce Home, its entry into the smart-speaker market currently dominated by Amazon’s Echo. While a number of the device’s capabilities were shown off, including performing Google web searches and managing simple tasks, not a lot of details about the hardware itself has been revealed. While some wondered if the Home’s smarts came from being built on Android, the reality is that the speaker is a “dressed-up version” of Chromecast, says news site The Information.
The two Google products are so similar that they make use of many of the same hardware components, including the dual-core ARM processor, WiFi chip, and 4GB of RAM. In other words, take the Chromecast and add a microphone, speaker, LED lights, and a larger case and you have the Home.
The Information‘s source said that the connected speaker and streaming TV dongle were even developed by the same team at Google. As a result, the Home also barrows the Chromecast’s Linux-based operating system.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily add up to something bad. The Home speaker is supposed to be able to do many of the things the Echo does, including play music and listen for “OK Google” voice commands, but these don’t really require a lot of local computing power. The Chromecast is incredibly cheap, selling for just $35, and it’s been one of Google most popular hardware products.
Basing the Home on Chromecast not only allows Google to keep the manufacturing costs down, but it will help them compete with the dominant Echo by drastically undercutting its $179 price. This is also a big part of why the Home is supposed to launch later this year, having not required a lot of development time over many, many months.
SOURCE The Information