Google has finally taken the plunge in the smart speaker market in India with the launch of its second generation Google Home and Home Mini speakers. The smart speakers were launched at an event held in New Delhi. Till now, this specific market space was dominated by Amazon with their Echo lineup of speakers. Google Home and Home Mini will cost Rs. 9,999 and Rs. 4,499 respectively. The speakers are available to buy online exclusively on Flipkart, along with various offline outlets.
The speakers will support Google Play Music, YouTube, Netflix, Saavn, and Gaana. Hindi support will be added later this year.
Price and Availability
As mentioned earlier, Google Home is priced at Rs. 9,999 which makes it a direct competitor to the Amazon Echo smart speaker which retails at the exact same price. Google Home Mini, priced at Rs.4,499 will take on the Amazon Echo Dot which also costs the exact same price.
The Google Home is available in a Chalk fabric base with Coral colour expected to come soon. Google Home Mini is available in Chalk and Charcoal fabric colours.
Home and Home Mini can be purchased online exclusively on Flipkart. They will also be available through various offline stores, including Croma, Reliance Digital, Vijay Sales, Bajaj Electronics, Sangeetha, and Poorvika.
Flipkart is offering a free JioFi router with the Google Home or Home Mini. If you purchase the speakers from a Reliance Digital or MyJio store, a JioFi router with 100GB of 4G data worth Rs.2,499 will be included.
Some select Philips Hue and Croma stores are also offering the Philips Hue and Google Home Mini as a bundle at a special price. ACT Fibernet retail customers will receive a Google Home Mini if they subscribe to 12-month advance rental plans of 90Mbps and above.
If you make the purchase using HDFC Bank credit cards, you can avail 10 percent cashback. Additionally, buyers will also get free subscription to Gaana up to 31 October 2018, with an option to get an ad-free subscription to the service for an additional 1.5 years at a price of Re. 1. Similarly, Saavn will also be free till 31 October with an extension option for another 1.5 years at Re. 1.
The Google Home comes in a cylindrical form factor with a touch surface on top. It measures 233.4 x 96.3 x 142.7 mm in dimensions. The touch surface on top can be used to control playback, volume, and also activate Google Assistant. The top portion is white while the base comes with a fabric cover, which can be customized according to your tastes. The two microphones are located on the top panel, they feature far-field voice recognition and can identify different voices with Voice Match Technology. The mic mute button and power status light are located at the back. The lights on the top panel can change patterns and colours according to the current operations being performed. The speaker weighs in at 477 grams.
If you remove the gray coloured fabric cover, you can see the internals of the high-excursion speaker, which consists of two 2-inch drivers and two 2-inch passive radiators. It supports devices with Android 4.4 KitKat and higher, and iOS 9.1 and higher.
In terms of connectivity, Google Home provides only a dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi-Fi 802.11ac, which means it can only be used as a Wi-Fi connected speaker with no Bluetooth capabilities. The speaker comes with an AC power adapter and needs to be powered by a wall socket. The power cable has a length of 1.8 meters. The speaker supports HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, Vorbis, WAV, and FLAC audio formats. The speaker also supports ChromeCast.
Google Home Mini
The Google Home Mini is a compact and less expensive version of the Google Home. It comes in three colours, Chalk, Charcoal and Coral. Coral is not yet available in the country. It has 4 LED lights on its top, which show that the speaker is working and indicate different operational functions. The lights turn orange if the mic is muted. The mic can be muted using the mic mute switch present near the power port on the back. Controls for the Google Home Mini are present on either sides of the lights and can be used to change volume, start or stop calls, timers, alarms etc. The whole body of the Home Mini is covered by fabric with a non-skid silicone base.
The speaker is said to produce a 360-degree sound using a 40mm driver. Just like Google Home, Mini also features far-field voice recognition. It supports devices with Android 4.4 KitKat and higher, and iOS 9.1 and higher. The speaker weighs in at a mere 173 grams and has a height and diameter of 42mm and 98mm respectively. Similar to the Home, the Home Mini also requires a power connection and comes with a power cable measuring 1.5 metres.
For connectivity, Home Mini has a major difference from the Home. Although it offers the same dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi-Fi 802.11ac, but in addition to that it also has Bluetooth v4.1 making it suitable to use as both a Wi-Fi and a Bluetooth speaker. It supports all the audio formats supported by the Google Home.
Speaking at the launch event, Rishi Chandra, VP of Product Management and General Manager of Home Products, Google said; “We are delighted to bring our best-in-class Home products to India. These products have been customised to match the needs of the Indian consumer and you will see that Google Home is truly ‘desi’. It understands Indian accents, and will respond to you with uniquely Indian contexts. Another unmatched feature of our product is that the Google Assistant can work across all your devices – giving you a personalised Assistant experience in its truest sense.”