A mysterious battery-powered Google device appears in FCC filings

A mysterious battery-powered Google device appears in FCC filings

It’s officially August, which means we’re getting close to the fall hardware season, and two recent FCC filings from Amazon and Google could hint at a couple products the companies may — or may not — reveal.

Google’s product is pretty mysterious; the product is described only as a “Wireless Device.” It appears to be battery-powered — there’s no AC connection — though it can be powered over a 5V USB connection, and one diagram shows it connected to a laptop for testing. Ace 9to5Google observed, the filing could indicate that this is some kind of Nest device — some Nest cameras have used 3.65V rechargeable batteries, for example.

Google has already said the Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and Pixel Watch will arrive this fall, so whatever this “Wireless Device” is, it could be revealed when the company shares more details about those other products. Google didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

We’re more sure about the Amazon filing, which appears to point toward a barely revised version of the company’s premium Echo Studio smart speaker. At first glance, there’s not an obvious connection: the new product is described vaguely as a “Digital Media Receiver,” and digging a bit deeper, the filings indicate it has an AC power cable, which lets it plug into an outlet, and a Zigbee radio, which is commonly used for controlling smart home products. The filing itself doesn’t even look to be from Amazon — instead, it was filed by a company vaguely named Flake LLC.

But Amazon often uses fake shell companies for FCC filings to keep its products secret, and the photos of Flake’s one other product filed with the agency — another “Digital Media Receiver” — are an exact match of the Echo Studio. And the newer filing actually says that that Echo Studio and this second item are “electrical [sic] identical” except for a different MediaTek wireless chip. It’s not clear exactly why Amazon is swapping the chip, but perhaps it’s doing it to address supply chain issues, like what some other companies have done before: Tesla substituted alternative chips to help keep up production, while Panic said last year it would need to use a different CPU in later shipments of its Playdate gaming handheld.

Amazon didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment. The company often holds a September event packed with news devices, but given how minor the change appears to be, there’s a chance Amazon doesn’t say anything about it at all.

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