The Google Home Mini went on sale in the UK on 19 October 2017. It instantly caught our attention as a smaller and cheaper version of the standard Google Home, priced sufficiently low to introduce the masses to the wonderful new world of smart speakers.
But as much as we love - and heartily recommend - it the Google Home Mini is not infallible. We've put together a wish list of features we'd like to see in a Google Home Mini 2, and we'll keep you posted on any new rumours we hear.
Hopefully a new model can boost Google's share in the smart speaker market, which is still dominated by Amazon. In a YouGov survey published in April 2018, it was revealed that Google Home Mini holds 9% of the UK smart speaker market (plus 7% for the standard Google Home) compared to Amazon Echo's (combined) 75%.
When is the Google Home Mini 2 release date?
This is impossible to predict. Smart speakers are a relatively new product category, and even market leader Amazon has only recently updated its original Echo. Meanwhile the older Echo Dot, rival to the Google Home Mini, is still in its first-generation. There is certainly not an annual update schedule as we often see with other consumer tech.
Both Google Home Mini and the standard Google Home are in their first-generation. The Google Home was announced in May 2016, but wasn't released in the US until November 2016. It made its way to the UK in April 2017. Meanwhile, the Google Home Mini was announced on 4 October 2017 (alongside the Google Home Max which has not yet become available in the UK) and went on sale two weeks later.
More recently at January's CES 2018 we saw the introduction of Google Smart Display devices - Google Assistant devices with screens - but none from the company itself. So far just four have been announced, from Sony, Lenovo, JBL and LG.
Google hardware launches traditionally take place in late-September/early-October, with the original Google Home announcement being an exception because its introduction at the Google I/O Developer's Conference was heavily focused on the Google Assistant software it runs. We may well hear more news about Google Assistant enhancements at this year's Google I/O conference, which takes place on 8-10 May.
We'd expect to see any new Google Home hardware announced in October, though we think 2018 may be too early for a Google Home Mini 2 announcement. With Amazon having recently upgraded its Echo to the Echo 2, Google is much more likely to concentrate on updating its original Google Home device first.
So for now we wouldn't hold out hope for a Google Home Mini 2 before October 2019, but we'll let you know if we hear otherwise.
How much will the Google Home Mini 2 cost?
Part of the appeal of the Google Home Mini is its low-price, which matches key rival the Amazon Echo Dot. Expect pricing to remain at £49/US$49.
New features we'd like to see in Google Home Mini 2
A better touch interface
The Google Home Mini originally had a touch interface just like the Google Home, but Google was forced to deactivate it when it was discovered that the Mini was listening in on conversations without its owner's knowledge. Today only the volume buttons to either side are active on the Google Home Mini. We'd love to see Google properly implement its touch interface on the Google Home Mini 2.
Proper Bluetooth speaker support
Google Home Mini supports Bluetooth, but only to the extent that you can stream audio from your phone or tablet to 'blast' out from its internal speaker. If you want to connect the Google Home Mini to standalone Bluetooth speakers you need to use a Chromecast Audio - at additional cost if you don't already have such a device. This is one of Google Home Mini's major downfalls when compared to the Echo Dot.
This is one we can now thankfully cross off our list. Google added the ability to hook up a Bluetooth speaker in March 2018.
An AUX port
The previous lack of proper Bluetooth support wouldn't be nearly as irritating if the Google Home Mini had an AUX port, allowing you to physically hook up external speakers.
This one is probably a given, but we'd always like to see improved audio in new devices. The Google Home Mini performs reasonably well given its hardware, but it's still something you compromise on when buying the cheaper Google Home.
Google Home Mini is designed to be plugged into the mains in a kitchen or bedroom and left there, but its size means it would be a useful device to take to all the places you might take a portable Bluetooth speaker and tether it to your phone rather than Wi-Fi. This would only be possible, of course, if an internal battery meant it didn't always need to be plugged in.
A more natural wake word
Maybe it's just us, but constantly repeating "Hey Google" or "Okay Google" leaves us a little tongue-tied. We'd like to be able to wake up Google Assistant inside the Google Home using a wake word of our choice. This also features on our wish list for Google Home 2.
What would you like to see in a Google Home Mini 2? Let us know in the comments.
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