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Google is launching SoundPod, a wireless speaker that can confirm payments received through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) instant payments system, to small merchants in India, the company announced on Thursday. The company began testing the device last year as part of limited trials and said it would be released later this year. Google Pay’s rivals PhonePe and Paytm (the latter is under RBI regulation for failing to comply with several rules) already offer similar products to domestic merchants.

In a blog post Thursday, Vice President of Product for Google Pay Ambarish Kenghe announced that the company’s SoundPod will be rolling out to small merchants in the country “over the next few months.” During Google’s year-long trial of SoundPod in India, it received positive feedback from merchants participating in the trial, including faster payments, Kenghe said.

SoundPod is equipped with an LCD screen and a single speaker. According to Google, it supports 4G connectivity. There are three LED indicators to show the device’s battery, charging, and connection status, as well as menu, volume, and power buttons.

SoundPod Google Inline Google SoundPod

The SoundPod has a seller-facing LCD display and speakers.
Photo source: Google

Paytm’s ‘Soundbox’ speaker offers a battery life of 4-12 days and offers 2G or 4G connectivity. Two models are equipped with LCD screens, while the other model supports music playback via Bluetooth connection. PhonePe’s SmartSpeaker, on the other hand, has up to four days of battery life on a single charge and supports multiple languages.

While the company has not given a specific timeline for when the SoundPod will be launched in India, competitors like Paytm and PhonePe offer similar audio devices that are already being used by merchants across India. The seller also pays a monthly subscription fee between Rs. 50 to Rs 125 — Access these audio-based notification services.

Google says sellers can choose between two subscriptions for SoundPod, priced at Rs. 499 one-time fee followed by Rs. 125 monthly subscription plan or annual subscription priced at Rs. 1,499. Sellers don’t have to pay a one-time fee when choosing an annual plan. Customers who receive 400 payments per month through QR code are guaranteed Rs. According to the company, 125 cashback is applicable.

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