Say hello to the Home Mini, Google's $49 answer to the Amazon Echo Dot

Frederic Lardinois

To the surprise of no one, Google today announced a smaller version of its Google Home smart speaker. The Google Home Mini looks like a small hockey puck and will retail for $50. At this size and price, you can't expect great audio quality, but in return you get access to all the wisdom of the Google Assistant in a small package that weighs less than a pound and doesn't break the bank.

The Mini will be available for preorder today and start shipping October 19.

The new Google Home mini will come in three colors (chalk, black and red) and won't feature the touch-sensitive top of the regular Google Home. Instead, it'll only feature a few lights on top and a microphone switch on the back (as well as a micro-usb plug for powering it).

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Google says that while the device is small, the sound quality should still be quite good and you can connect it to any Chromecast speaker, too.

Given the success of Amazon's Echo Dot, which costs just as much, it's no surprise that Google also wants to play in this price category. The regular Google Home currently sells for $129, though over the course of the last year, but it has often been on sale for just under $100.

Another feature here is that there's fabric on top of the Mini to make sure it fits into your living room (or any other room in your house).

As Google's Rick Osterloh, Google's senior VP for hardware, admitted during today's keynote, Google isn't always first when it comes to its hardware, but the company wants to be able to offer the best software for its users -- and to focus on making it easy to interact with them by voice.

Isabelle Olsson, Google's lead designer for the Home hardware, also noted that people don't want a device in their living room that has lots of blinking lights. "We design for the spaces that our products live in," she said and stressed that form and size matter for a product like this.

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