New Google Nest Hub reportedly coming with this awesome dual-use upgrade

The incoming Google Nest Smart Display is two devices in one: a smart home hub and a titchy tablet too

New Google Nest Hub
(Image credit: Future)

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, 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.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).