Exclusive: Google is developing a higher-end Google Home ‘Max’ w/ stereo speakers

Google is developing a larger, higher-quality, and assumably higher-priced Google Home that would take on the likes of the Sonos Play:3, according to two sources familiar with the project. Both sources say that the device has stereo speakers, while one shared an internal name: Google Home “Max”.

We’re not sure on its feature set or design, but we’re told it has stereo speakers, which likely means a singular unit with dual mid-range drivers and perhaps a single tweeter — or some similar setup. In terms of its outer appearance, we’re only told that it’s “premium” in both design and materials. And yes, a source said that Google Home “Max” is certainly a tentative name.

The product also made an appearance, according to an anonymous tip we received earlier this year, in a focus group held by Google alongside products that might sound familiar after recent leaks: a smaller Google Home, a premium Chrome OS laptop, and other products, including a pair of smart headphones.

We’re not sure on the product’s stage of development, and it’s not clear whether it will be announced on October 4th alongside the recently-leaked Google Home Mini, the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones, and the “Pixelbook” Chrome OS laptop. One source simply said that it was a “possibility.”

Announcing the product now and shipping it later this year might make sense from a strategic point of view, since the Apple HomePod is launching in December. But this speculative guess at a timeline is fuzzy at best, and plans can quickly change. At this point we simply don’t know.

Regardless, it’s clear that Google is highly-interested in expanding the Google Assistant’s reach in your home through dedicated hardware. Especially with the Apple HomePod coming to market as a premium smart speaker more intentionally geared toward high-quality music playback, it would make sense for Google to introduce an Assistant-powered offering with similar strengths.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment, but have yet to hear back.

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Stephen Hall

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