Friday, August 12, 2022

Mysterious Google battery-powered device appears in FCC files

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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 point to a few products the companies may — or may not — reveal.

Google’s product is quite mysterious; the product is only described as a “Wireless device.” It appears to run on batteries – there’s no AC connection – although it can be powered from a 5V USB connection, and a diagram shows it plugged into a laptop for testing. As 9to5Google noticedthe submission could indicate that this is some sort of Nest device – some Nest cameras, for example, have used 3.65V rechargeable batteries.

Google has already said that the Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel Watch will arrive this fall, so whatever this “wireless device” may be, it could be revealed when the company shares more details about those other products. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

We’re more certain about the Amazon filing, which seems to point to a barely revised version of the company’s premium Echo Studio smart speaker. At first glance, there’s no apparent connection: the new product is vaguely described as a “digital media receiver,” and when we dig a little deeper, the records indicate it has an AC power cord, which it can plug into a wall outlet. , and a Zigbee radio, which is widely used to control smart home products. The self-submit doesn’t even appear 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 another product from Flake submitted to the agency – another “Digital Media Receiver” – exactly match the Echo Studio. And the newer application actually says that that Echo Studio and this second item are “electric” [sic] identical” except for another MediaTek wireless chip. It’s not clear exactly why Amazon is swapping the chip, but it may be doing it to address supply chain issues, as some other companies have done before: Tesla replaced alternative chips to keep up production, while Panic said last year. that it should use a different CPU in later shipments of its Playdate gaming handheld.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company often holds a September event full of device news, but given how small the change appears to be, there’s a chance Amazon won’t say anything about it at all.

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