It sounds like Google is finally getting ready to release another smart display, except this model of the Nest Hub could feature a detachable Android tablet.
According to 9to5Google, Google is busy working on a new Nest Hub that’ll be unlike the previous three. This one could double as an Android tablet. If true, owners could sit on the couch and use it like any other tablet, then throw it in the Nest Hub dock and enjoy all those traditional Assistant-powered smart display features.
Unfortunately, we don’t know too much about the rumored device. The report doesn’t mention the specs, screen size, or even what software will be on board. And that last part is essential considering previous Nest Hub devices ran on a Google Cast-based software or Google’s new Fuchsia operating system. And while Google’s smart displays do have a touchscreen, the experience is nowhere good enough to double as a full-fledged tablet.
Last year the company even added an app drawer to its smart displays, but still, this was a limited system and not enough to use its display as a tablet, nor did it have access to the Google Play Store. Obviously, if Google wants its Nest Hub to be a 2-in-1 device and work as a tablet, the software experience needs to be up to par.
And while Google added an “ambient mode” back in 2019, which some manufacturers like Lenovo enabled to let users dock a tablet for an experience like a smart display, it still wasn’t quite the same as a Nest Hub. Neither option is ideal, but maybe this next device will solve that.
That brings us to the upcoming Android 13 release set to arrive later this year. A detailed report on the Esper Blog explains how Google’s been silently adding changes to Android 13 to work with smart displays. Furthermore, all the big-screen elements of Android 12L will soon merge into the Android 13 developer preview, making it even better for a device like the newly rumored Nest Hub tablet.
Either way, I’d love to have a Nest Hub Max with a detachable screen. It’s a move that makes a lot of sense if Google gets the software right. We could see this new Nest Hub Tablet arrive sometime in 2022, so stay tuned.