Google having 'productive conversations' about selling its OnHub internet router to service providers

Google said it is currently working to sell its new OnHub W-Fi internet router to carriers around the world. Google's efforts to expand distribution of its OnHub device further underscore the company's work to expand its position in the internet services market.

"We think there's a great fit for the product for the carrier operators," Google OnHub Product Manager Trond Wuellner said at a Wi-Fi event, according to Light Reading. "We've had really productive conversations... with a number of carriers around the world."

Google released its OnHub router last year for $199. The gadget features support for Bluetooth and the 802.15.4-based Weave standard that Google announced in 2014 for Internet of Things applications. Thus, the product could be used by Google in the future to offer additional smart home services -- an area that cable and telco operators have been playing in with their own Wi-Fi-capable modems and gateways.

Indeed, Google has reportedly been working on a product similar to Amazon's Echo, which allows users to verbally speak commands to conduct internet searches and purchase items through Amazon. Speculation on Google's plans has focused on OnHub -- Google could potentially add support for voice commands to OnHub, thereby allowing users to verbally access Google services.

Google already pushes software updates to OnHub users roughly every six weeks, according to Wuellner's comments this week, as reported by RCR.

It's unclear how OnHub will eventually fit into Google's sprawling business. The company, of course, has entered the internet services market through its growing Google Fiber effort, and the company also plays in the smart home space through its acquisition of Nest. Connecting those products and services into a cohesive offering could create a more compelling sales proposition of its OnHub router -- and a potential reason for other carriers to sell the gadget to their own subscribers.

For now, though, Google continues to position OnHub as a more effective and reliable router. That positioning puts the company into competition with Wi-Fi router startups like Luma and Eero, as well as established internet service providers that offer their own Wi-Fi routers.

Google currently sells OnHub-branded routers through vendors Asus (for $219.99) and TP-Link (for $199). The router supports speeds up to 1900 Mbps through both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies.

For more:
- see this Light Reading article
- see this RCR article

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