Google wants you to trick out its OnHub router
With its first two OnHub routers, Google has a simple goal: to make the WiFi network in your home a stronger, simpler and more beautiful experience. Its debut hardware, built in partnership with TP-Link, is an already attractive piece of kit, but now the company is going a step further with customisable shells. From the Google Store you can buy one of three new exteriors, which come in either wood, a split black-grey or split white-gold combination. They look quite classy and support Google’s vision that routers should be kept in plain sight, rather than tucked away behind a dusty bookcase. This, it believes, is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve WiFi strength and reliability in your home.
The three Pinterest-worthy shells, which cost between $29 and $39 in the US, are only part of Google’s new strategy though. The OnHub team is also encouraging people to mod their existing router housings and, if they have access to a 3D printer, to make their own from scratch. To get you inspired, the company recruited a handful of artists, designers and makers to trick out the TP-Link OnHub router in different ways. The result is a colorful bunch incorporating rope, plants, leather and other unusual materials. They’re all displayed on a special “OnHub Makers” site and from there, you can download a blank template to decorate and wrap around your router, or access a 3D file so that you can tinker with the original dimensions.
Google hopes you’ll get creative and share your best work with other OnHub owners online. Whether or not it catches on, it’s a neat attempt at spicing up what has long been a pretty stagnant product category.