The best smart home tech is getting more and more user-friendly, and the next generation of the Google Nest Hub is no exception. According to a well placed source, the smart home hub will be two devices in one. Leave it on its speaker dock and it's a home hub, with a simple interface giving you fast access to your key smart home controls as well as useful information such as the weather and app shortcuts. Detach it and you've got yourself a tablet.
The news comes via 9to5google.com (opens in new tab), which points out that the current Google Nest Hub is already rather tablet-y. But it doesn't currently transform into a tablet, a feature that'll make the 2022 Google Nest Smart Display considerably more useful.
Smarter than a smart home hub
The current Nest Hub (2nd Gen) is effectively a fixed tablet anyway, albeit one with fairly modest specifications: it's powered by an ARM CPU with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and has a 7-inch screen. And while it doesn't run Android – the underlying OS is Google's stripped-down Fuschia – The apps you use on it, such as YouTube, Apple Music, Google Calendar and so on – are essentially web pages that don't really care about the OS.
I don't think Google needs to make the Nest Hub into a fully-featured tablet unless it's going to do it with the Nest Hub Max, which is bigger, more powerful and a lot more expensive as a result; low-powered 7-inch tablets deliver a pretty horrible user experience. But a little Nest Hub you can quickly detach to look up something online or order something makes sense.
Google has been heading down that road for a while already: there's a web browser in the Nest Hub, albeit one that isn't advertised as such, and a Gboard-style on-screen keyboard was added last year. Adding detachability as a useful feature rather than trying to turn the whole thing into a fully-featured tablet would make the Hub that little more useful, and that's never a bad thing for smart home tech.