Google Soundpod is coming to India and NO, it is not a smart speaker
Google Pay is testing its Soundpod in India to be used by merchants for verifying payments. All details here.
Have you observed those small speaker-like devices from Paytm or PhonePe at your local grocery store, announcing loudly “Rs. XX received on Paytm”? These are called soundboxes and have been in use in the market since 2020. These device simply convey an audio confirmation of the payment you made to the merchant, thereby negating the need to show your phone's display. It seems that Google Pay is also wanting to jump in on the bandwagon with its Soundpod.
Although the name is fancy, Soundpod will essentially be a similar device that will help merchants with audio confirmation upon receiving a new payment from a customer. Based on a report from TechCrunch, Google Pay has already distributed these devices for free to several merchants in India for pilot testing the ecosystem. These merchants have even been given a specific timeframe to set up the speakers at their registered stores or shops.
Google Pay SoundPod to launch in India soon
The Soundpod is already reported to be distributed in several North Indian cities, including New Delhi. The device itself has a speaker built in for the announcements. Additionally, there will be an LCD display to show the amount received, battery status, network status and some manual controls.
Built by ToneTag, there will be a QR code for scanning in order to make the payment. Note that these device don't have NFC to support tap-and-pay feature found on expensive smartphones.
Currently, rival Fintech companies like PhonePe, Paytm and others also distribute these soundboxes to merchants across the country. While they are handed over to merchants for free sometimes, they are available on a chargeable basis as well. The rental fees varies for these devices, with PhonePe charging Rs. 50 per month and Paytm charging Rs. 125 per month. It remains to be seen how much Google Pay charges as its rental charge.
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