It makes sense that Google wants to make it as easy as possible for users to stay connected to the Internet. A new app-powered wireless router introduced by the company today aims to do just that.
Google announced that it’s teaming up with TP-Link on a smarter and more secure Wi-Fi router called OnHub. The cylindrical OnHub will also be easier to use than existing routers. One thing it won’t be is cheaper: At $199.99, the new router costs appreciably more than many wireless models.
Since OnHub’s software will be updated regularly, the product will adapt to the changing needs of its owners, according to Google. The principle resembles the automatic software upgrades the company makes to its Chrome browser and personal computers running on its Chrome operating system, Trond Wuellner, a Google product manager, said in a blog post.
The router’s updates will also include the latest security upgrades, which will load and install without interrupting the connection, according to Wuellner. The company said OnHub will support smart households, whether they use Bluetooth Smart Ready, Weave, or 802.15.4 wireless networking technology.
The device scans about every five minutes to find the least congested wireless channel, letting users prioritize different devices to ensure that their computers or smartphones will always get the fastest speeds. Also in the works are new OnHub devices in collaboration with other hardware partners, including ASUS.
"At the end of the day, we want our Wi-Fi to just work, so that we can do all the things we love to do online," Wuellner said. "Here’s to Wi-Fi with the reliability, speed, and security you want at home, without the frustrations you don’t."
Google said that OnHub can be set up in three minutes or less. It can be managed with the Google On mobile app that also works on Apple's iPhone as well as devices running on Google's Android software.
We reached out to Chris DePuy, vice president and analyst at Dell'Oro Group, who told us that as more homes adopt more wireless products, OnHub is a smart offering since Google at its core is a services company.
"Google has benefitted from working with hardware vendors before -- with its Android phones, for instance -- as it makes access to its services very simple for its users," said DePuy. "Consider also that Amazon is working to place its Echo device in users’ homes with the same purpose -- to allow Amazon services to be easily consumed."
With that in mind, working with TP-Link to make a Wi-Fi device for homes is the right move for Google, DePuy said.
Pre-orders for OnHub can be made at a number of online retailers, including Amazon and the Google Store. The device will go on sale in stores in the U.S. and Canada late this month or early September.