New Google Nest Hub can track sleep

Google has announced its second generation of the Nest Hub. The new version has a built-in Soli radar for gesture control and sleep tracking. That will eventually work with a subscription.

The renewed Google Nest Hub is very similar to its predecessor, which originally came out as the Home Hub. It is again a smart home hub with a built-in 7 “touchscreen, with a resolution of 1024×600 pixels. The new model has a larger speaker, with a diameter of 43.5mm and therefore low tones should sound better.

In addition, the new Nest Hub will receive a third microphone and a chip for machine learning. That should make the device more responsive to voice commands. According to the specifications, there is a quad-core soc with Arm cores at 1.9GHz in the Nest Hub. Further details about the soc are not known.

According to The Verge the renewed Nest Hub has a Thread radio on board for communication with other smart home devices that support Thread. Initially, however, this is not active yet, but Thread support would be enabled later.

Soli Radar and Sleep Sensing

Like the predecessor, the new Nest Hub does not have a built-in camera, but the Soli radar allows the device to detect movements. It is used for gesture control and for the new Sleep Sensing feature. When users place the Nest Hub next to their bed, the device can track sleep statistics.

According to Google, the Nest Hub can also detect small movements such as breathing patterns. There is an option to configure the device so that it only follows the movements of one side of a double bed. For now, the Nest Hub doesn’t detail sleep patterns, something that body-worn sleep trackers do.

Google writes that Sleep Sensing need a subscription, but now it is a preview that is free until next year. The technology must become part of Fitbit and Fitbit Premium, but details are not yet known. It is therefore not yet clear what a Sleep Sensing subscription will cost.

Google has been working on its Soli radar for years. The technology was enough in the Pixel 4 and 4 XL and there is one Nest thermostat with Soli. The radar is not in the Pixel 5, but Google indicated at the end of last year that it is would recur in other products.

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