Comcast has been granted a patent for a smart speaker with a unique look (thanks to Twitter user @SteveDonohue for pointing this out). A drawing depicts what looks to be a speaker with a sloping top and a wide base, rather than the spherical shape of the Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod Mini, or even the rounded rectangular design of the Google Nest Audio gadget.
According to online records, Comcast applied for the patent last year, but it wasn’t authorized until April 2022. The gadget appears to include playback controls on the side of the speaker, with an extra button and a little stand on the bottom, as seen in the drawing.
At first sight, this gadget appears to be more of a router (without the antennae) than a smart speaker, which makes sense for a firm that focuses on communication. But after one of my coworkers mentioned it looked like a bedpan, I couldn’t get the image out of my head.
The irony is that in 2019, Comcast was allegedly considering developing a health-focused speaker that recorded your potty habits. It was meant to come with sensors that recorded how often someone got up to use the bathroom and how long they remained in there, but it never made it into the hands (or restrooms) of customers. Comcast made it clear at the time that it was not a smart speaker. It’s unclear whether these two devices are connected, and Comcast didn’t reply to The Verge’s request for comment right away.
I’m going to try to hold off on making any conclusions for the time being because it’s still difficult to determine how the smart speaker will look in real life based on this drawing alone. I’d interested to see how the device’s design transfers into a physical speaker if it’s ever available.