Before a product with technology like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be sold in the US, it needs to get approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In recent years, Google has been able to make its FCC listings more obscure, hiding the minute details of its new projects from the public until it’s time for them to be released.
This morning, a new Google device, the G28DR, appeared in the FCC with the generic moniker “wireless device,” leaving us with a mystery to be solved. Let’s give our best to find out what this is, starting with the basic facts.
According to the FCC listing, this new Google device is certified for use with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (including the 5 GHz bands of Wi-Fi 5), and doesn’t have any other common connectivity options like NFC or UWB. In a document we also learned that the “wireless device” would contain a 3.65V battery.
To perform the necessary signal test, our mysterious Google device was connected via USB to a laptop, which means we can likely expect it to charge over a standard USB connection. Alternatively, many Google smart home devices – such as the Nest Hub series – will include a hidden USB port that is used only for debugging purposes and is not intended for customers.
With the few clues we’ve put together so far, we don’t think this is anything to do with Google’s Pixel range, as most require connectivity options like NFC and cellular, and it’s too early to use a new set of Pixel buds. A Chromecast series is also unlikely, since battery power is included.
This leads us to believe that Google’s “wireless device” today is likely a thing in the Nest lineup. While Google has effectively shown its hand at Google I/O for what to expect from the Pixel this fall, the company hasn’t teased much of its next generation of smart home speakers, cameras, and more.
One Nest product that’s already confirmed on the way is the wired-only Nest Doorbell that addresses some issues with the battery-equipped version. However, the wired Nest Doorbell series typically expects a voltage higher than 5V, and the model we’ve been waiting for shouldn’t have a battery.
A similar idea is that we’re looking at a new model in the Nest Cam series, many of which used a 3.65-volt battery backup. A new model will be welcomed in this group, although Google relaunched the Nest Cam series last year with several new products.
An update to the Nest lineup is also slated for the beloved Nest Learning Thermostat. Recently, Google launched the Nest Thermostat, which has an affordable retail price and a set of core features that made it an effective successor to the Nest Thermostat E. Meanwhile, the Nest Learning Thermostat hasn’t had a successor in more than five years.
Another possibility is that we’re looking at a new speaker from Nest, as smaller models like the original Google Home Mini used a USB connection before. In this case, this would be the first instance of a Nest speaker with a battery – without using third-party accessories anyway. We’re definitely on time for a new Google speaker, but the FCC list says the device’s regulatory labels should be on the “back,” while most Nest speakers put that info on the underside.
However, these are just a few of the possible options from Google’s multifaceted hardware team. There are plenty of opportunities for this new FCC “wireless device” to be something we haven’t even imagined yet. For example, Google’s Stadia console uses a similar mix of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and is equipped with a battery.
We likely won’t know more about what kind of device Google has planned until the details leak out or the company itself announces it. According to the paperwork, images of the device itself and the manual will remain classified until sometime in January, all except for confirmation that we’ll see its launch later this year.
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