Google's new $199 OnHub Wi-Fi router could target IoT services, challenge telco and cable operators

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced it will sell its own Wi-Fi router, the OnHub, for $199. The gadget features support for Bluetooth and the 802.15.4-based Weave standard that Google announced earlier this year 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.

Google's OnHub.

In a post to its website announcing the new router, Google said the device would provide stable, speedy connections for users, and would allow owners to see how much bandwidth their devices are using. Google also said the gadget would easily allow users to obtain their Wi-Fi access password and share it with others.

Added Google: "In the future, OnHub can support smart devices that you bring into your home, whether they use Bluetooth Smart Ready, Weave, or 802.15.4. We also plan to design new OnHub devices with other hardware partners in the future. Stay tuned for news from our second partner, ASUS, later this year."

Although there are already a wide range of Wi-Fi router providers, it's the hint of future products and services that could create headaches for some cable providers that also want to play in the same spaces. Already, Google has invested in smart home products through its purchase of Nest, and the company's Weave offering is a communications layer that things can use to can talk to each other. Using Weave, Google has said, a door lock can define "lock" and "unlock" as two phrases that all other devices can understand and use to work off each other.

Further, Google has already made clear its interest in the telecommunications market through its Project Fi MVNO for wireless services, and its fiber buildout via its Google Fiber business.

New IoT offerings from Google, delivered to OnHub users, could create headaches for cable operators that also want to create new revenue streams with smart home services. Already, Time Warner Cable offers home monitoring, home and energy management and remote home control through its IntelligentHome service, and Comcast's Xfinity Home provides control or monitoring of security cameras, smoke detectors, thermostats, lighting and motion sensors.

For more:
- see this Google post
- see this Multichannel News article
- see this TelecomTV article
- see this WSJ article

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