Google’s first-generation Google Home smart speaker has had an unexpected price cut, with the Assistant-powered gadget now matching the Google Nest Mini in a promotion. Launched back in late 2016, the original Google Home may have looked like an air freshener, but it actually kick-started the company’s growing smart home line-up.
Today, that’s been brought under the Nest brand, and includes not only smart speakers but smart displays, too. Most recently, the Nest Mini second-generation added a larger speaker and an extra microphone, but the original Google Home remains on sale alongside it.
Google cut the Nest Mini to $29 from its original $49 recently, but that same amount can now get you a Google Home instead. That’s a significant drop from the $99 it was previously retailing at.
Like Amazon, Google has been aggressive with the promotions around its smart speakers and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices. In many ways they’ve been treated as loss-leaders, aiming to coax new users into committing to a voice assistant platform. If Google can get people onboard with the Google Assistant as their go-to AI, that helps keep Amazon’s Alexa at bay.
Still, after several shopping seasons of big promotions along with bundles that see Assistant-powered speakers included with everything from Android phones to connected light bulbs, it’s possible much of the usual target audience is reaching smart speaker saturation point. With most of the intelligence on the server-side, there’s less of a requirement to upgrade the local hardware more often. That’s in stark contrast to smartphones, where improvements in thing like processor, camera, and display have traditionally been strong motivators to update.
Google and Amazon countered that initially by adding displays to their hardware. The Google Home Hub – later renamed the Nest Hub, and joined by the larger Nest Hub Max – did just that, adding things like Google Photos integration and YouTube support. They, too, have seen price cuts recently too, and you can currently get a Nest Hub for $79 instead of $129.
It’s unclear whether this is a last-ditch push on Google’s part to work through its remaining Google Home supplies before discontinuing the speaker altogether. With that in mind, though, it’s probably best not to hang around if you’re thinking of picking one up in this $29 deal.