The next Nest Hub from Google may be the removable tablet you’ve always wanted

The next Nest Hub from Google may be the removable tablet you've always wanted

The news comes courtesy of 9to5Google, and there isn’t much more known about the device than that. Size, features, and other hardware details separate from the detachable functionality aren’t known. If history is any indicator, more details about it should leak out over time if plans for it continue at Google.

According to reports, Google is working on a new Assistant-enabled smart display. That’s hardly surprising given the regular release cadence, but there’s a twist here: It could have a tablet-style display with a removable display. Place it on the base for usage as a smart display, then remove it for some couch browsing. It sounds cool, but it also creates a software question.

Highlights

  • To date, Google’s smart displays have run two operating systems: A Google Cast-based platform and a version of Fuchsia on the Nest Hub. None of these platforms has been used on a “normal” tablet before, and with Google’s big new interest in big-screen devices with Android 12L (and with us being the Android Police), it leaves us wondering if Android might be a possibility.

  • Although Assistant-powered smart displays already have touch functionality, it’s a far cry from a full tablet experience. With Google changing the inherent form factor by possibly using a detachable tablet, the standalone smart display experience in its current state would be a little lackluster. Although Google did give them an “app drawer” of sorts last year, no apps, a limited browser, and very little multitasking ability would all make for a petty mediocre device by modern standards. This raises the possibility that it might be running a different operating system.

It’s not clear how far along Google’s plans might be, and this could be a very early leak. For all we know, this new tablet may run the “normal” Cast/Fuchsia Assistant smart display software, and new features that plug the experience gap might be planned — though we could have a long wait ahead, if so.

Google also wouldn’t be the first to this idea, novel as it may sound. In fact, devices running Google software already do something similar to this. Multiple tablets have been released that support the Assistant Ambient Mode, Like the Lenovo Yoga Tab 11, Smart Tab M8 HD, and the Smart Tab M10 tablet. Alexa-integrated devices also exist, and Amazon’s tablets all have a Show Mode that lets them emulate the experience of an Echo Show display. Samsung also has its Home Hub, which uses Bixby (ew).

The first Nest Hub (then called the Google Home Hub) was released in October 2018. The larger Nest Hub Max joined it in May of 2019, and a second-generation Nest Hub with a Soli radar-based sleep sensing tech landed in March of 2021. As you can likely tell, Google doesn’t have a set schedule for when it releases new models, but the Nest Hub Max is coming up on three years old at this point, and the original Nest Hub was replaced with an updated model in a similar timeframe.