The holiday shopping battle for your tech dollars will have a screen. Google and Amazon’s lead consumer products, along with a new device from Facebook, look to take the popular connected speaker, into the kitchen and living room with a video screen.
On Tuesday, Google introduced Google Home Hub, an update to its popular Google Home speaker, a new device with a video screen that’s all about Google. It was touted at the event in New York as being optimized for Google searches with visual replies, watching YouTube videos, checking your daily calendar with visuals and using Google Photos to see your latest photos. The company also said the device could serve as a moving photo frame.
Google made a point of noting that Home Hub, unlike the Echo Show and Facebook Portal, will not have a camera.
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The Hub is being offered at a relatively bargain price of $149, compared to $199 for the new Facebook Portal, a video screen announced Monday, and $229 for Amazon’s re-designed Echo Show. Hub sports a 7-inch screen, compared to Facebook’s screens at 10.1 and 15.6 inches and Echo’s 10 inches.
The Hub is available for pre-order and will be in stores on October 22.
The Facebook Portal starts at $199, and is being positioned as a video calling device, as opposed to the search and entertainment of Home Hub and pure entertainment and video Alexa of Echo Show. The Portal will be available in November.
The Show was first introduced in 2017, but critics found the initial version to be lacking in much video to watch. Amazon and Google are in the midst of a corporate spat, and Google disallowed Amazon from having YouTube on the device.
The new Show, in stores Thursday, has a larger 10-inch screen (over the original 7-inch) but a steeper price, initially, than competitors, at $229. The new Show also has a workaround to use an Amazon browser to bring in YouTube.
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