The Echo Dot is one of Amazon’s most popular smart speakers, but it could soon have some competition. Google is reportedly planning a slimmed-down version of its very own AI-powered speaker, and it could be aptly dubbed the Google Home Mini.

The Google Home Mini will reportedly be debuted at a hardware event scheduled towards the end of the year, according to Android Police. The launch is also expected to showcase the new Pixel smartphones and Pixel-branded Chromebook. All three products should be in stores by the end of 2017.

Google has already successfully captured itself a good chunk of the smart speaker market, an industry completely dominated by Amazon in 2016. Research claims that the Amazon Echo enjoyed a 100% share in October 2016, although that has now been significantly reduced to just 82%. That’s because the Google Home now accounts for 18% of all smart speaker sales.

Amazon still holds the biggest slice of the pie, however, but it’s thought that many of the company’s sales come from the more affordable Echo Dot. Morgan Stanley estimates that over 60% of Echo sales are of the more affordable model, which can be picked up for just £45 in the UK or $50 in the US. Google has no such advantage, although its flagship speaker is already cheaper than both the standard Echo in both the UK and US.

Amazon Echo Dot

Could The Google Home Mini Be A Chromecast Audio Replacement?

Little is known about the Google Home Mini currently, although it’s expected to work in a similar manner to the Echo Dot. That means users will need to attach it to a third-party speaker, rather than having it stand on its own. Google already offers a device for giving dumb speakers the ability to wirelessly receive music, meaning the search engine giant could simply add its fully array microphone and digital assistant to a newly updated Chromecast Audio.

Pricing of the so-called Google Home Mini is anyone’s guess, although if Google opts for the same approach as it did with the full-sized Google Home, it could be cheaper than the Echo Dot. The current Chromecast Audio can be picked up for £20, although it initially launched in the UK at £30. A Google Home Mini priced at between £30 and £40 will not entirely be surprising.

Google has been gradually building out its smart assistant, which coupled with a more affordable speaker could significantly help sales. That hasn’t stopped Amazon from doubling down on Alexa, however. Amazon now offers everything from Alexa-powered cameras to video calling phones, giving the retail giant a significant hardware advantage over Google.

The Google Home Mini is expected to be announced at a launch event in October.

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