Good analysis by Dan Moren at Six Colors. (See also.) It’s also interesting that Google’s establishing a new “On” brand for connected-home gear, rather than making it part of Nest.
But I don’t see a strong future for a $200 wireless router in 2015, especially from a company with almost no retail presence. How many of your non-geek friends and relatives are using a router that their ISP didn’t give them? If the answer is greater than zero, how many of those were bought for anywhere near $200?
Much like the challenges facing TiVo, most of the home-router market just uses an integrated modem-router box provided by their ISP. (This is even worse than TiVo’s situation: buying your own router costs relatively little, and there’s almost no differentiation between brands.)
Apple’s AirPort Extreme faces the same challenges, and despite being a good product overall, I can’t imagine it sells well enough to matter. At least Apple’s strong retail presence can help its sales, especially as an attachment sale when someone’s buying a Mac or iPad. Google won’t have that advantage.
Even the idea that people are more likely to keep this router out on a shelf or table with nothing around it is pretty optimistic. Notice how none of the OnHub photos show any wires? No matter how pretty you make it, it still needs at least two cables plugged into it, and one of those needs to be connected to your ISP’s ugly modem, so it’s probably going on the dusty floor behind your desk or hidden with the rest of your ugly networking equipment.
(Personally, I’ve left the consumer-router world entirely, as I found even the best consumer routers flaked out and needed to be rebooted every so often. My Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite 3 and UAP-AC have served me very well so far, with zero hiccups or issues since I bought them nearly a year ago, and the N-only but inexpensive UAP-LR has brought insane range to my in-laws’ house.)