Google is working on a new Nest-branded smart speaker that will fit in among its other fabric-swathed, Google Assistant-enabled devices and look to challenge Sonos’s offerings in the smart home space.
According to an exclusive from 9to5Google, the hands-free speaker is codenamed Prince and created to take on the Sonos One — one of the best smart speakers overall — with premium audio hardware.
There’s no word yet about what will be inside the Prince speaker, but 9to5Google said it will be display-less and a “noticeable bump up from the original Google Home,” which hasn’t been refreshed or updated since it was introduced in 2016.
9to5Google also said this speaker’s performance will land somewhere between the Google Home and the Google Home Max, while falling in line with the newer Nest-brand aesthetics.
Our Google Nest Hub Max review and Google Nest Mini review detail the design and packaging direction the company has taken with its smart home speakers in the last year. Google owns Nest and has opted to keep the branding for its smart home division, which is responsible for many best Nest compatible products on the market.
As one of the best Google Home speakers, the Sonos One is a popular choice for audiophiles looking to bring smarts into their sound system. The Amazon Echo Studio couldn’t steal its title in the fall, but perhaps Google’s attempt at a high-end speaker will prevail.
Although the battle could get messy. Google and Sonos are entwined in lawsuits and counter-lawsuits regarding patent infringement. In January Sonos accused Google of ripping off its audio hardware, and this month Google said Sonos stole software ideas for Sonos Radio and the controller app that launched alongside the Sonos Arc soundbar.
Neither case has been decided in court, but the stakes could escalate with the debut of a new device.
The report does not say when the upcoming Nest speaker is slated to arrive. As the Nest Mini launched alongside the Pixel 4 lineup, the new Nest could be announced with the long-rumored Pixel 4a, as well as the Pixel 5.