4 October 20179to5Google:
In addition to launching a smaller, cheaper Assistant smart speaker this morning, Google also unveiled the Google Home Max. Larger than last year’s Home, it features stereo speakers and a more premium design.
On the audio front, there are dual 4.5-inch high-excursion woofers with “custom” .7-inch tweets. The speaker cover is made of an “acoustically transparent fabric,” while there is a rigid polycarbonate housing. Google notes that the Max is 20x louder than the Google Home. Users can connect speakers via Cast, Bluetooth, or aux jack.
I’d be shocked if they sell more than a few thousand of these. It is expensive. At $399, it’s positioned at a price even higher than the HomePod. It’s also really expensive relative to the rest of the Google Home line.
Google already sells far cheaper smart speakers; in fact, they just announced a $49 Mini. I reckon that most people interested in a Google smart speaker product will just buy what’s cheap, and be very happy. The Max is a premium option that very few people will shell out for.
Similarly, Apple would sell far fewer $349 HomePods if they also sold a $199 model that had worse sound quality proportional to its lower price.
Nevertheless, ignoring market viability, I think the Max is pretty cool. The form factor is neat. It has a magnetic rubber foot that can attach to the short side or the long side. In its default horizontal appearance, it looks like it is meant to be used as an oblong. Yet, you can pair it with a second unit, orient them vertically, and it looks like it meant is to be used that way round reminiscent of ‘normal’ stereo speakers.
As with all the smart speakers that emphasise their music capabilities, it’s impossible to know how it stacks up without hearing it in person. Both this and the HomePod ship sometime in December — it will make for an interesting comparison.