Google has been very active at the FCC in May. We've seen the Nest Hub Max get approval, a new mysterious Bluetooth-only device, and now a third product has been approved by the FCC, in the Google Home family. What it is though is a riddle as different parts of the filing point to different explanations.
The new product has the product code A4R-H2B. All of Google's previous Home models had the A4R-H prefix, so that's why we think it belongs in that line-up. Here's a quick look at them, for reference:
- Google Home: H0ME
- Home Mini: H0A
- Home Max: H0B
- Google Home Hub (now Nest Hub): H1A
- Nest Hub Max: H2A
Beyond the product name, the information is quite sparse. The description is "media device," which is similar to the Home/Mini/Max, and there's no mention of "interactive video" such as in the two Hubs' listings. However, the supported bands are very similar to the new Hub Max: there's Bluetooth, dual-band Wi-Fi (in fewer variants than the original Home line-up), and Thread.
This could be a variation of the Hub Max, but the lack of "interactive video" in its description leaves us a little dubious of that hypothesis. The most likely theory in our opinion is that it's a follow-up to the Home or Home Mini, with the same bands as the new Hub Max for a more uniform line-up. It could also be an all-new form factor too.
The FCC's confidentiality timeline is set to November 27, 2019, so we'll likely see this new product alongside that other mysterious Bluetooth-only device before the end of the year.
The plot thickens. Upon further inspection of the documents, we've noticed this device uses a 3.8V Li-ion battery for power, something no other Home device does.
That significantly changes our theories. Yes, it still could be a portable Home speaker with a built-in battery. It could also be something along the lines of the Lenovo Smart Clock with an actual battery inside so that power cuts don't affect your alarms and timers, which is essential.
It's also possible that following the Home and Nest brand merger, this is a Nest product — though what would constitute a Nest "media device" and also necessitate Bluetooth, WiFi, and Thread is a little beyond our imagination currently. And then finally, it's possible the "H" product category is for Assistant devices, not "Home" and since the Stadia controller has Assistant and hasn't been certified yet, it could be that. Other theories welcome.