Thanks in large part to the low-cost Echo Dot, Amazon grabbed an early lead in the smart speaker space. But this fall Google hit back hard with the Home Mini, which has become the best cheap smart speaker to buy for most people. Unfortunately, shortly after its launch, a bug affecting the top touch controls in some Home Minis caused Google to disable the feature in order to prevent its device from recording audio at all times.
But now, after two months, Google has a partial fix for Mini’s “ghost touch” issue. The company has addressed the problem via a new firmware update (version 1.29), which Gizmodo can confirm is already be available for users in Google’s firmware preview channel. The update doesn’t restore all of the Home Mini’s touch controls though, as manually triggering voice controls using a long press on the top of the device still won’t work.
However, you will be able to play or pause music, end phone calls, and silence alarms by performing a long press on either side of the device. We’ve reached out to Google to find out when the 1.29 firmware will be available to all users, but we haven’t heard back yet.
There’s no word yet if the $400 Home Max suffers from similar issues, as the speaker just went on sale this week. But we’ll be sure to test it out as soon as we get our hands on Google’s new high-end smart speaker.
[Update 8:10 PM] After we reached out for comment, a Google spokesperson responded saying that the addition of touch controls to the side of the Home Mini in the latest firmware are meant to replace the original top touch controls, which Google will not be bringing back.