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Google Home welcomed a new member to the smart speaker family this week, except it isn’t called “Google ” or “Home” at all. Still, the Nest Audio is very much the next-generation full-size smart speaker for everyday use.
There’s plenty we know about the fabric-coated device, and much we’ll still have to find out — such as whether the Nest Audio actually lives up to the hype and how it compares to the recently updated Amazon Echo. (If the Nest Audio’s specs are any indication, this could be the Alexa-killer Google has been hoping for.)
The new Nest Audio replaces the original Google Home speaker.
We’ll walk you through the most important things to learn about the Nest Audio’s price, colors, sale date and features. And we’ll explain what the new name means for other Google Home and Nest devices.
Pre-order Nest Audio
What is Nest Audio and which Google speaker does it replace?
Nest Audio replaces the original Google Home but, despite the similar name, it’s not the successor to the Google Nest. Other Google smart speakers you can buy today include the high-end Google Home Max, Nest Mini (formerly Google Home Mini) and Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max smart displays.
How much does the Nest Audio cost and when does it go on sale?
Right now, the Google Store is taking Nest Audio preorders for $100 (£90, AU$149) but will knock off $20 for every two you buy, making them $90 apiece. Google will start shipping Nest Audio orders in the US, Canada and India on Oct. 5. The device will be available at brick and mortar retailers and 21 countries starting Oct. 15.
Which colors does Nest Audio come in?
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You can buy the Nest Audio in five pastel colors: chalk (white), charcoal (black), sage (green), sand (pink) and sky (blue). Interestingly, Google touts that the fabric-like mesh material enclosing the speaker is made of 70% recycled plastic.
What’s improved over the first Google Home?
The new Nest Audio replaces Google Home’s single 2-inch speaker with a 3-inch woofer to control bass and a three-quarter-inch tweeter for high notes. There’s also a quad-core processor instead of the original Google Home’s dual-core processor, which should make response times faster and help create richer sound.
As with last year’s updated Nest Mini , the Nest Audio has a dedicated machine learning chip that performs on-device some of the processing previously handled at Google’s cloud-based data centers (translation: faster responses, better privacy).
Also, rather than looking like an air freshener or a miniature nuclear power plant, Nest Audio is a bit more loaf-like, which I personally find to be an improvement.
Will all Google Home speakers be Nest Audio now?
Among my Google Home pet peeves, clear branding is one that’s irked me again and again. With several Nest-branded smart speakers, it certainly seems like Google is embracing “Nest” as the new brand name. However, the company has also bounced back and forth a few times, confusing the matter. My guess is that Nest is here to stay.
Which mobile app will Nest Audio use: Google Home or Nest?
Part of the confusion surrounding the new name is which app you’ll use to control Nest Audio from your phone. There are two mobile apps — one for Nest, one for Google Home — but the names of the devices don’t match up to the apps. The Nest app directs the company’s smart thermostat, smoke detector and cameras, but if you want to set up a Nest Mini or, presumably, Nest Audio, you’ll have to use the Google Home app.
Are there any new Google Assistant commands?
If there are, Google didn’t announce them alongside the new Nest Audio smart speaker. Instead, Google highlighted the speakers’ whole-home audio feature, which the company recently updated with better controls. Additionally, Google dedicated a good portion of its presentation to YouTube Music, which it says will be adding some features in the coming weeks (presumably independent of the Nest Audio launch).
It’s easy to overlook, but don’t forget that the new Nest Audio is a full-fledged Bluetooth speaker, too. And like previous Google Home speakers, it’ll probably make a great speakerphone, as well. Anytime you set up a new Google Home speaker, Google Assistant may assail you with suggestions. Here’s how to turn them off.