Comcast Making Its Own Speaker?

Comcast wants to do more than just bring TV and internet to your home, they want to build speakers, too.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

This article is more than 2 years old


Comcast, the second-largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue, has received a patent for a smart speaker. And its design is very unusual. Unlike the spherical-shaped units that come with the Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod Mini or even the rounded rectangular style of Google’s Nest Audio device, the Pennsylvania-based firm’s speaker has a sloped top and a wide base. The image was shared in a social media post which also credits industrial designer Zhe Zhang for the speaker’s ornamental shape.

According to The Verge, Comcast first filed for the speaker patent last year. But it didn’t get approved until April 2022. As seen in the sketch, the device appears to have playback controls on its side, with an additional button and a small stand at the bottom. The smart device is still in the early stages of development, so there isn’t much information available. However, it will be a welcome new option for technology enthusiasts who have been bound to Apple, Google, and Amazon products for years.

Interestingly, the speaker isn’t Comcast’s first foray into smart devices. In 2019, the company was set to launch a similar product with a health and wellness angle. Although it never made it past the pilot stage, the prototype was designed to monitor people’s basic health metrics using ambient sensors, with a focus on whether someone is making frequent trips to the bathroom or spending more time than usual in bed. At the time CNBC said the firm was also building tools for detecting falls, which are common and potentially fatal for seniors.

However, Comcast’s health-focused speaker didn’t offer functionality like controlling smart home devices. It was also unable to search for answers to users’ questions on the internet. But it was supposed to have a personality like Alexa, and be able to place calls to emergency services. At the time, reports suggested that some startups already had similar ideas for Alexa speakers. While a lot of products on market come equipped with the motion sensors, cameras, and other hardware that was needed for this health-focused device, competitors didn’t seem interested in monitoring their customers’ personal metrics.

Although the health and wellness prototype failed to find its market, Comcast may have better luck with its new smart speaker. The device would be a first for the company which already offers hardware and services focused on home security and automation. The tech giant also has experience in voice with a remote that responds to commands, which people mostly use to search for television shows and movies. The company began exploring other opportunities in the technology sector a few years ago, and if successful would the move would bring the multinational telecommunications conglomerate into direct competition with popular tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Apple.

Moreover, it will be interesting to see if Comcast’s new smart speaker comes with any features touted in their failed health gadget. Since the company hasn’t released any official specs yet, tech fans will just have to wait and see.