Google introduced the new Nest Hub (2nd Gen) this morning as an upgrade to their original Nest Hub, which is now over two years old. The new Nest Hub has been improved in a number of ways, but the big selling point here is that it can track your sleep using Motion Sense, the same radar technology we first saw in the Pixel 4.
The Nest Hub (2nd Gen) looks almost identical to the original, with a colored base and 7-inch touch screen. Google improved it with not only the new sleep tracking feature, they also added the dedicated machine learning chip found in the newest Nest Mini and Nest Audio that makes Google Assistant way faster. They improved audio with a 50% bass boost and added air gesture controls, likely using the same chip that sleep tracking does.
How does Nest Hub track sleep?
Speaking of sleep tracking, Google is using some pretty cool tech here for this Sleep Sensing feature. Again, part of the equation is Soli, the radar chip found in the Pixel 4 that was able to sense some of your actions and if you were nearby. For sleep tracking, Google is using it to check for movement and breathing, which includes coughing and snoring throughout the night.
By detecting the person closest to the Nest Hub at night, the radar chip tries to pick-up motion to record restless periods and your respiratory rate too, to then relay a recap of the night to you in the morning. It also uses Nest Hub’s light and temperature sensors to complete the equation and let you know if you should make adjustments to get a more restful sleep.
Since Nest Hub doesn’t have a camera, Google says that this should be a private sleep tracking mode. The information is stored locally or you can sync it with your Google Fit account, but Google isn’t going to use the data to sell ads or anything like that. You can also completely turn it off with the privacy switch or through software controls.
While all of the sleep tracking stuff sounds pretty cool, as it lets you track your sleep without wearing a device, Google is hinting at asking you to pay for it down the road. When you buy Nest Hub (2nd Gen), they have made it clear that Sleep Sensing is in a free preview period until next year. How much will it cost then? We don’t know yet.
Other Nest Hub (2nd Gen) improvements
The other stuff to know here is that the new Nest Hub will bring you that bassier music I mentioned above, with the same “audio technology” as the Nest Audio. That doesn’t mean the same speakers – this only has a 1.7in driver in a “full-range speaker.”
For Quick Gestures, Nest Hub (2nd Gen) will let you play or pause music and videos, snooze an alarm, and stop a timer. You just need to put your hand up in front of the device and wave it towards the device.
And finally, that dedicated machine learning chip from the other Nest devices should make your Assistant commands happen in an instant. Basically, Google has found a way to push some of the Assistant features you use onto the device instead of needing to ping Google’s servers.
The new Nest Hub (2nd Gen) comes in 4 different colors and arrives March 30 for $99.99. Pre-orders are open right now.