New Google Nest Smart Display Could Have A Detachable Tablet Screen

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In 2021, Google launched the second generation of its smart display, the Nest Hub. The Google Nest Hub 2 packed impressive features such as sensors to detect motion gestures and the ability to track your sleep without any device fastened to your wrist. Despite being full of exciting and smart technology, the smart speaker came with the same floating display design as its predecessor that launched back in 2018.

This year, Google is reported to announce a new smart display with an interesting design change and the Nest Hub 2022 is rumored to sport a modular design, according to 9to5Google. With this design change, the screen will reportedly be detachable from the base unit to be used as a standalone tablet. As the outlet reports, the base will then look like a more conventional smart home device, but the exact specifics of this new design — and whether the change will be radical or conservation — have yet to be revealed.

Nest Hub 2022 could ditch Android for Google's Fuchsia OS

It's still unclear which operating system will be running on the Nest Hub tablet when it's disengaged from the base. The Android and Chrome OS both hunger for resources like RAM, meaning Google is unlikely to choose those for the tablet — if it plans to maintain the pricing in the same $100 ballpark, that is. Notably, Google has been improving the interface on its smart speakers, adding a full-screen app launcher, support for games, a dark theme, and the ability to browse the internet. Google even revamped the core software of the Nest Hub lineup with its Fuchsia operating system in May 2021. However, this was merely an under-the-hood change without any visual upgrades upfront. 

With the display fixed to the smart speaker at a set angle, the experience can easily be called jarring and far from enjoyable. However, with a detachable form factor, the new interface will make much more sense and give users the liberty to use it as a full-fledged tablet — that is, if Google does not make substantial changes to this interface for the new design.

Not a new form factor

As for its availability, the Nest Hub 2022 could be announced at the Google I/O conference, scheduled for May 11 and 12, though that's merely speculation and is unconfirmed. With this new form factor, Google could be looking to counter the opposition; Google's most prominent — and the most apparent — competitor in the smart speaker market is Amazon. The latter maintains a strong lead, having sold 69% of the smart speakers in the US by June 2021, according to a report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). Meanwhile, Google occupies a much smaller share with only 25% of the user base.

Interestingly, the form factor isn't actually new and has already been furnished by Lenovo with its Smart Tab M10. The Smart Tab M10 runs on Android when used as a standalone tablet, but it can be docked into an audio bar to convert it into a smart display running Amazon's Alexa, giving users the best of both worlds. It remains to be seen if Google can beat this $210 tablet while offering a better and — more importantly — a log-free experience despite limited hardware resources on the next Nest Hub.