Google is stressing the decorative nature of its OnHub router with a series of stylish “Shells.”
For $29, users can add a two-tone pattern to the $200 OnHub from TP-Link router, either in black and silver, or in white and gold. A bamboo pattern is also coming soon for $39. These are full replacements for the router’s included blue or black shells, and are meant to encourage putting the routers in a conspicuous place, where they’ll provide better Wi-Fi coverage.
Beyond those ready-made designs, Google is encouraging the DIY crowd to make their own shells, and has published 3D files and Illustrator templates to help. An “OnHub Makers” website shows off some colorful examples, including a Slinky-like construction of laser-cut plywood, and a vase for air plants.
Unfortunately, no similar beautification options exist for the Asus OnHub router, and for good reason: Unlike the TP-Link OnHub, Asus’ router cover is not removable.
Why this matters: In terms of tech specs and features, the OnHub line doesn’t come close to competing with other high-end routers. Instead, Google is trying a different strategy of appealing to the average user. Decorative shells might help, though it’s unclear how many people will care in a category where the average buyer tends to spend as little as possible.
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