Google launches $99 Nest speaker and new TV device

Google has a 31% share of the smart speaker market, compared to Amazon's 53%

The new Nest Audio smart speaker is unveiled during the Google Launch Night In virtual event seen on a laptop computer in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. Alphabet's Google launched a Nest Audio speaker and a new Chromecast TV device as it seeks to hold off Amazon from continuing to gain share in the smart home space. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Alphabet’s Google launched a $99 Nest Audio speaker and a new Chromecast TV device, seeking to hold off Amazon and other competitors from grabbing more consumers in the smart home market.

The Nest Audio replaced the mid-tier Google Home speaker and uses a new fabric-heavy design similar to recent updates to Google’s lower-end home speakers. The new device has technology from the higher-end Google Home Max that lets the speaker adapt its sound by understanding its location in the environment.

Google has been locked in back-and-forth lawsuits with Sonos  regarding audio technology patents, with Sonos suing the California-based search giant as recently as Tuesday regarding five patents.

The patents at the heart of the lawsuit involve a speaker’s ability to adjust its output based on its location, streaming music from the cloud and interacting with other speakers, all features the new Nest model includes.

Other new features of the Nest speaker include improved bass and clearer sound, Google said on Wednesday during a brief virtual product launch.

Google has about 31% of the smart speaker market, compared with 53% for Amazon and less than 3% for Apple, according to data from Voicebot Research.

The new speaker comes in multiple colors, similar to other smart speakers like Apple’s HomePod. The iPhone maker is working on a smaller and cheaper speaker, while Amazon launched several redesigned Echo speakers earlier this month.

Google announced the Nest Audio along with its new TV device during the product event.

The new TV device, the $49.99 Chromecast with Google TV, has a new oval, versus circular look, includes a Google-branded remote control with voice command, Netflix and YouTube buttons, an updated TV operating system called Google TV, and, like previous models, plugs into a television via an HDMI port.

Google TV is a re-branded version of Android TV with a redesigned user interface and can offer viewing recommendations from across services like YouTube. Google said the operating system will come to several other Android TV devices as well.