How To Make Smart Speakers Portable (Alexa, Google Home, And Homepod)
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Smart speakers are becoming common household items that we find convenient and useful. Many of these smart speakers are designed to be connected to mains power, limiting their portability and use outside of the home. How can you make your smart speaker portable so that you can enjoy them anywhere?
Alexa, Google Home, and Homepod smart speakers can be made portable by purchasing battery bases for the speaker model you have. These battery bases are rechargeable and will power your speakers for several hours while you are not in range of a mains power supply. Power banks can also be used.
Smart speakers are an integral part of creating a smart home, and in many cases, the smart speaker is the first smart item people purchase when exploring smart home technology. These speakers are compact in design, which begs the question, why they are not made portable? Imagine your camping trip, or weekend at the cabin, or a day at the park with the convenience of your smart speaker on hand.
Can You Make Smart Speakers Portable?
Smart speakers constantly require power to keep all their smart features active and ready, waiting for your next command.
This need for constant power limits the portability of these speakers since most are designed to plug into the mains power of your home. This immediately limits the use of your smart speaker to a location where you can access mains power.
Alexa, Google Home, and Homepod are popular smart speaker choices, so we will examine each of these product lines for portability and whether they can be converted to be portable.
One caveat that should be mentioned regarding making smart speakers portable is that they still need a WiFi connection to the internet before they will function.
Taking the smart speaker out of the range of your home WiFi network will effectively prevent the speaker from operating. The only way to bypass this would be to enable your mobile phone hotspot and connect your smart speaker to this as the WiFi connectivity source for the speaker.
Are Alexa Smart Speakers Portable?
Alexa is the voice assistant integrated into Amazon Echo devices. You can control other smart devices in your home by issuing commands to the Echo speakers.
Most of the Alexa Echo range of smart speakers such as the Echo and Echo Dot can be converted to be portable by purchasing a custom, rechargeable battery base for the speaker. These battery bases can be charged and unplugged when needed to allow you to take your Alexa smart speaker anywhere.
An example of this is the GMM Battery Base for Echo Dot 4th Generation compatible with the Echo Dot 4th Generation Smart Speaker.
This portable battery base will power the Echo dot for up to 16-hours from a full charge.
Can Google Home Smart Speakers Run Without Being Plugged In?
Google Home smart speakers are another popular choice of speakers used where the smart tech in the home is powered by Google.
Google Home smart speakers cannot run when they are not plugged in. Like any other smart speaker, they need a constant power source to listen and respond to voice commands. Even when the speaker is in standby mode, it will draw a small level of power to keep the mic and sensors active.
The only way to make Google Home smart speakers portable is to provide them with a source of battery power to keep them powered.
As with other smart speakers, Google Home speakers come in a range of sizes, and portable battery bases are available for most versions, allowing the speakers to become portable.
The JOT Portable Battery Base for Google Home Mini is an example of such a portable power source for your Google Home Mini smart speakers.
This portable battery base will power this speaker for up to 8-hours of continuous run time and even longer on standby.
Can You Travel With Homepod Smart Speakers?
Homepod is Apple’s contribution to the smart speaker range of products, and like most Apple products, these units are well made but are certainly not made for travel in their original state.
You can travel with a Homepod smart speaker if you have a portable battery base for the speaker and you are within range of a WiFi internet connection. The WiFi connectivity can be provided for by the hotspot on your phone, which will use your data package for internet connection.
A battery base for your Homepod smart speaker, such as the Mission Battery Base for the HomePod Mini smart speaker, will make your speaker portable, but there will be some limitations.
Even if your smart speaker is powered, it needs an internet connection to be fully functional.
Traveling outside the range of your home WiFi is possible by using the mobile hot spot function on your phone, but if you lose signal to your mobile network service provider, the speaker will not work.
So while you can travel with your Homepod smart speaker, you will be limited to traveling in areas where you can remain connected you your mobile network. Taking your smart speaker on a wilderness camping trip with spotty mobile network connectivity will be an exercise in futility!
Can Alexa Google Home And Homepod Speakers Connect To A Power Bank?
Battery banks are not new tech for anyone who owns a mobile phone, and these devices are commonly used to extend the battery life of mobile phones. Is it possible to use a battery bank to power your smart speaker?
Power banks can be used to power smart speakers if the speaker is rated for the same amperage as the power bank. The main issue is the compatibility of the connector cable that will connect the speaker to the power bank and the power rating.
Many of the smart speakers use round power jacks, which are not typical connectors that come with power banks since power banks are typically for charging mobile phones.To overcome this you can buy a power Cord USB to DC 3.5mm x 1.35mm Barrel Jack Adapter Connector Charging Cable Plug
You must check that the amperage output of the power bank is the same as the rating for the smart speaker to avoid damage to the electronics in the smart speaker.
If you have any doubts about the compatibility of the power bank with your smart speaker, purchase a battery base designed for the speaker instead.
As smart speakers become increasingly popular, more functionality and flexibility will be built into this technology. Currently, most smart speakers are not portable without an addon accessory such as a battery base to power the speaker.
Portability will become a feature that is in demand for smart speakers, and we have already seen Amazon head in this direction with the Echo Portable, which has a rechargeable battery built into the speaker.
Until this type of design becomes more of a standard feature in smart speakers, you will need to buy a battery base to make the speaker portable.