When Google released the first Google Home Hub in October of 2018 they brought their own take to the Smart Display market. Fast forward to today and Google has announced the second generation of their 7-inch camera free Smart Display, the new Nest Hub.
The 2021 Nest Hub brings a familiar look and feel with the overall design remaining constant with the old Nest Hub and the entire Google Hardware family. There’s the same 7-inch (1024 x 600) LCD with an ultra-low backlight and recycled fabric cover.
The new Nest Hub is boasting a larger primary driver and promises 50% more bass for “fuller audio”. There’s also a third far-field microphone for enhanced speech pickup and comprehension.
Joining the device this year are a couple of critical updates a Soli Radar and CHIP Radio. The inclusion of a Soli chip brings along with it gesture control and more importantly Sleep tracking … but more on that soon.
The CHIP radio maybe a little more abstract, but for us, it’s one of the most exciting updates. Project CHIP, or Connected Home over IP, is a multi-year multi command endeavour to implement a new standard for Smart Home devices. The inclusion of a ‘thread’ radio hopefully means CHIP will be with us soon.
Google is investing in a late way in sleep tracking with the Nest Hub. At launch, all Nest Hub owners will get contactless sleep tracking with ‘Sleep Sensing’. Upfront, it’s important to note that Sleep Sensing is being provided as a free preview until next year.
At this stage, we’re not clear how long into next year the trial will last or how the service will be offered after that. We will continue to follow up with Google on this as the trial continues.
Using the Soli Radar Sleep Sensing can monitor when you go to bed, when you wake up and how long you slept. Using a combination of the Soli Radar, microphones and temperature sensor Sleep Sensing will provide no-touch insights into sleep patterns and disturbances (such as coughing and snoring).
In combination with the Google Fit app Sleep Sensing will be able to provide insights into your sleep patterns and potential actions to improve your sleep. Google is reinforcing privacy with the system, quickly pointing out that firstly the system is completely opt-in, and that all of the data is processed on the device.
We are eager to get hands-on with Sleep Sensing, and when we get hands-on with a Nest Hub will put it through its paces. Due to the reliance on Soli, Sleep Sensing is only available on the second-generation Nest Hub.
Google is continuing to invest in the Nest Hub as a bedside device with an enhanced array of bedside clock faces, alarm functionality and an ultra dim backlight to reduce nighttime sleep bleed.
We would love to see a Smart Display with an OLED display to get complete blacks and softer whites.
The new second-generation Nest Hub goes up for pre-order today in Australia for $149AUD in either Charcoal or Chalk.
You can pre-order from Google or most major electrical retailers.