In Brief: Google Announces $200 OnHub Router

By Norman Chan

In partnership with router-maker TP-Link.

A few bits of Google news this week, including one product launch. First, Google announced that Android 6.0 is officially named Marshmallow. The final SDK for this 'M' release will be out soon for developers to get their apps working on it--we're crossing fingers for a Nexus phone release as well (rumored to be by LG). You'll have to wait longer for Google's Ara phones, as that project is now pushed back to at least 2016. And finally, Google launched a home router, made in partnership with TP-Link. The premise is that this OnHub is a router that's meant to be kept in the open, not stuck in a closet. Managed and controlled with an app, it supports Bluetooth 4.0 and a few smart home and IOT protocols (Thread and Zigbee). Looking at it makes me think of Amazon's Echo, and OnHub even has a speaker. The only thing it's missing is a microphone system, but Google probably wants you to communicate with it with your phone or its app. I think that underestimates the usefulness of a built-in microphone and the ability to send hands-free voice commands to a central connected smart home hub without having to fumble with devices. OnHub will cost $200, and is available for pre-order now. Here's Google's promo video for the router, which borderlines a as-seen-on-tv commercial.