Today’s smart speakers are usually primarily designed for amplifying music and allowing users to manage their home controls, and not so much about taking care of phone calls. Mobile virtual network operator Republic Wireless, however, is building a smart speaker that is focused on phone calls.
Enter the Anywhere HQ -- an LTE ready smart speaker that people can use mainly to make phone calls, and for good measure, also provide verbal instructions to. Similar to how Google’s Home and Amazon’s Echo works, Republic Wireless’ Anywhere HQ can be activated by using a specific command phrase.
The Anywhere HQ smart speaker holds the distinction of being the first ever hardware offering from Republic Wireless (if you have not had the chance, do check out our 2017 review of the carrier). According to the MVNO (who leases network capacity from major US wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint), the smart speaker is armed with its own smart assistant and is capable of working seamlessly with a mobile user’s phone number.
While it is true that most other smart speakers out there come with support for calling, they do so by connecting to the user’s smartphone. Republic Wireless’ approach to phone calls appears to be different -- rather than connecting to the handset, the Anywhere HQ smart speaker seems to be capable of working directly with the mobile user’s phone number, with or without the smartphone.
Back in June earlier this year, Republic Wireless had debuted Republic Anywhere, which is basically a text messaging app (free of charge) that allows the mobile operator’s customers to send texts from their smartphones, tablet devices, and even their laptops, at no extra costs. It is quite possible that the Anywhere HQ smart speaker is an extension of that earlier initiative, or perhaps inspired by that project at least.
Republic Wireless’ Anywhere HQ is a product of the mobile operator’s Labs program. Officially, the smart speaker is still undergoing testing through Labs, and the company has stated that once the product is granted approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), it should launch shortly thereafter. As such, details regarding the pricing, release date, and availability have not been released by Republic yet. Furthermore, it also possible that the smart speaker’s could still undergo some changes before the final version is ready for commercial roll out. For more information about the Anywhere HG smart speaker, you can go visit its dedicated page at Republic Wireless’ official website.
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