What you need to know
- Google is rumored to have a new Nest Hub in development.
- The new Nest Hub device may feature a detachable desplay and tablet-like design.
- Google is reportedly gearing up for a launch this year, although exact timing is unclear.
Google's lineup of smart displays could finally get a refresh this year, as rumors point to the company working on a new Nest Hub device with a different form factor.
A source familiar with Google's plans told 9to5Google that the device would be noticeably different from the company's current lineup of smart displays. This new device will reportedly feature a removable display with a base with a speaker. This means users will likely be able to move around the house with a purpose-built, tablet-like smart home display.
The source didn't appear to have much information on the device besides the form factor. However, this wouldn't be the first docked, tablet-like smart home device. For example, Samsung recently announced its own Home Hub with a similar form factor and what's essentially a blown-up SmartThings interface. Lenovo also has its own low-cost Android tablets that can be docked with dedicated Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa modes.
Last year, I wrote how Google should launch more smart displays in different form factors, similar to what Amazon does with its lineup of some of the best smart displays. Google's "lineup" pales in comparison to Amazon's, with its current models consisting of the 2019 Nest Hub Max and last year's Nest Hub (2nd Gen). Even with last year's launch, the device featured largely the same design as its predecessor.
Meanwhile, Amazon recently launched the impressive wall-mounted Echo Show 15 and even has an Alexa-powered robot that roams around the house. Even Meta managed to refresh its smart display lineup with devices like the new Portal+ (2021).
That said, when I spoke to Maurice Klaehne, the senior research analyst of devices and emerging technologies at Counterpoint Research, he noted that Google's focus has been less on hardware and more on software. "While Google is interested in pushing out its own smart home products, it still benefits from others that are using the Google Assistant as the AI to control the smart home, although the market is still relatively small," he said in an interview. "It entered the market late and some of the value proposition remains to be seen as a lot of smart display features can be done with a tablet or even smartphone."
Still, Google's smart display lineup is in need of a major refresh, so the idea of a new Nest Hub launching with a different form-factor is quite enticing, assuming this is actually the case. Needless to say, we may not have too long to wait for such a device, as 9to5's source notes that it may launch at some point in 2022.
Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.
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