Google struck gold in the living room with its Chromecast dongle and sparked an entirely new product category in the process. The search giant is no doubt hoping for similar success with its latest creation, a revised approach to a common Internet appliance.
OnHub, not to be confused with the now-defunct OnLive game streaming service or Amazon’s similarly-looking virtual assistant Echo, is a wireless router unlike anything we’ve seen to date that tackles two major pain points associated with nearly every router on the market.
The Google OnHub, built in partnership with TP-Link, is cylindrical-shaped and is meant to be kept out in the open. As Google product manager Trond Wuellner explains, tucking a router into an entertainment center or behind your TV / desk / computer doesn’t exactly help its signal, nor does stacking things on top of it (yes, apparently people do that).
Its removable outer shell comes in black or blue and can be swapped out for different colors at a later date.
Inside the cylinder are 13 antennas – 12 for beaming out signal and one for monitoring network congestions. It supports 802.11ac and 5GHz Wi-Fi, Google says, and in the future will support smart devices via Bluetooth Smart Ready, Weave and 802.15.4.
The primary method of interacting with the router is via a mobile app for Android and iOS. Known as Google On, the app allows users to perform a number of tasks such as viewing how much bandwidth devices are using, prioritizing devices on the network and even performing troubleshooting.
OnHub is slated to launch August 31 for $199.99. Interested parties can pre-order the router as of writing from the Google Store, TP-Link Store, Amazon, Frys.com, Newegg and Walmart. Google is also planning to launch a similar device with hardware partner Asus later this year.