With their sleek appearances, easy to use mobile applications and subtle automations, OnHub routers were aimed at consumers who didn't want to fiddle with settings or optimization. But OnHub came at a price. Both models had hardware features that weren't unlocked at launch and hefty price tags, to boot.
Today, Google announced a brand-new, very similar product: Google Wifi. It's much smaller, just as sleek and more affordable at just $129 (converted, that's about £101 or AU$170) for one or $299 (£235 or AU$393) for three.
Google Wifi will be available for preorder in November and will be available early December through the Google Store, Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.
The key feature is the ability to place several Wi-Fi "points" around the house using multiple Google Wifi units to create a mesh network that blankets your entire house with better wireless coverage. Rather than outfitting the far corners of your house with repeaters, bridges or powerline adapters, in theory, you can just strategically place multiple Google Wifi points around the house for a similar effect with much easier setup.
Within this mesh network, the Google Wifi points "work together to determine the best path between points for your data." As you move throughout the house, your devices will automatically switch to the nearest Google Wifi point to provide the strongest, most reliable signal.
As ominous as Google Wifi may seem for the future of OnHub, current OnHub owners have nothing to fear.
Ben Brown, Google senior product manager, stated on the Keyword Blog that Google Wifi is "built on the strengths of OnHub" and the "next step toward ensuring that our homes can have great Wi-Fi everywhere we need it." Google Wifi is merely a continuation and rebranding of OnHub.
As such, OnHub routers will work seamlessly with Google Wifi points. A support page for OnHub reads, "OnHub and Google Wifi will work together. So if you have an OnHub and need more coverage, simply add a Wifi point to your existing network and -- voila -- you now have a mesh Wi-Fi network."
As for the application, the OnHub app, currently called Google On, will simply be renamed as Google Wifi, and it will control both OnHub routers and Google Wifi points.