Google’s insistence on cloud-based controls for its networking products has occasionally caused issues, even though it was supposed to make life with OnHub routers simple. Now it will be a reason pushing anyone still using the OnHub to find a replacement by the end of next year when Google’s apps stop allowing owners to change the settings on their devices. An email went out to users, and a support page revealed the changeover is scheduled for December 19th, 2022 (via Droid-Life).
When it still seemed unusual for Google and Amazon to make their own hardware, Google teamed up with TP-Link and, eventually, Asus to build OnHub routers that made a point of blending in seamlessly with the rest of your house. They had slick mobile apps to simplify setup and controls, plus a style that blended in so people were more likely to place them in a central location, which could improve WiFi coverage.
The idea was that by styling them to fit with interior decorations, people would be more likely to place them in a central location, thereby improving Wi-Fi coverage. They even had slick mobile apps to control them so that you didn’t have to dig through ugly menus, but now those apps are gone, with the settings merged into Google’s Home app.
After the shutdown date, the routers will still work, but you won’t be able to adjust their settings, get any updates, or really do any troubleshooting. For its part, Google is offering owners a 40 percent discount on a Nest Wifi unit, which should knock a fair amount off of pricing that currently starts at $149 for a base unit by itself or $189 for a base and one extender.
For routers that are several years old by now, at least, that doesn’t feel like an unfair offer to get a replacement that we called “even faster and more capable than before.” Still, it doesn’t change the feeling that buying one of these routers means “owning” it only for so long as Google is willing to provide support. How many of your supposedly smart devices will quickly turn into bricks and electronic waste if someone flips a switch on the back end?