As rumours suggested, Google has announced a new version of its original smart display which hinges on a major upgrade. The new Nest Hub 2nd Gen adds Sleep Sensing thanks to the Soli technology from the Pixel 4, but it’s a ‘preview’ for now.
Google says that 20% of its Hubs are in the bedroom and that figure will surely rise with this new sleep tracking feature. With clever radar technology, it can do this without the need for a camera or to wear anything in bed.
The bad news is that you might one day have to pay to use Sleep Sensing. The feature is free as a ‘preview’ until 2022 when Google will review the situation and may ask for some kind of subscription fee for the service.
“We know people already come to Google for information and tools to help them live healthier, happier lives, and we’ve specifically noticed more and more questions about sleep, exercise and health. So we decided to bring these kinds of solutions to our second-generation Nest Hub,” said Ashton Udall, senior product manager, at Google Nest.
So, the Soli radar - that didn't work so well in the Pixel 4 - can track your sleep by monitoring your movement and breathing during the night. Combining with other sensors, the Nest Hub 2 can also track coughs, snoring along with conditions like lighting and temperature.
Having a device tell you how well you slept might not be particularly useful and might even make you feel worse if you didn’t get as good a sleep as you thought. However, as well as a report that links into the Google Fit app, the new Nest Hub will analyse the data and make recommendations to help you improve your sleep.
This might be a tweak to your bedtime routine, a lighting suggestion or something bigger like new bedding if you’re coughing a lot.
While you don’t need to wear a Fitbit (Google recently completed its acquisition of the fitness brand) in bed to help with the tracking, Google has said it is “looking for ways to integrate with Fitbit's sleep tracking features.”
Of course, sleep tracking isn’t the only upgrade on the Nest Hub 2nd Gen, which comes with 50% more bass from the speakers with tech based on the impressive Nest Audio as well as a third microphone. It also has a Sunrise Alarm to help you wake up and Quick Gestures to easily pause media without touching the screen.
The Google Nest Hub 2nd Gen is available to pre-order from today with a release date of 30 March. It costs £89.99 or US$99.99 and comes in four colours including a new Mist option. Find out the full Nest Hub 2 details.
Check out our chart of the best smart displays.