After months of rumors and more than one leak, the Google Home Hub is now official. The smart display market is still in its infancy, but perhaps the Google Home Hub is the push it needs to achieve mainstream adoption.
Is it a tablet? Is it a speaker? No, it’s a smart display!
The Google Home Hub looks a lot like a Frankenstein-esque combination of a tablet with a Google Home Max. The lower portion of the Hub is wrapped in the same cloth material found on other Google Home products. On the back, you’ll find a physical switch for muting the microphones and not much else.
The Home Hub does not feature a front-facing camera for Google Duo calls. In this way, the Google Home Hub isn’t necessarily a direct competitor to the JBL Link View, Lenovo Smart Display, or even the widely-panned Facebook Portal.
Just like other Google smart displays, the Google Home Hub isn’t a full tablet device and doesn’t run full apps either. Instead, the 7-inch touchscreen simply acts as a visual interface to Google Assistant. This is all possible thanks to a pared-down version of Android called Android Things.
The Google Home Hub has a few special tricks
Not surprisingly, Google announced a few new features for the Home Hub.
Probably the most crucial new feature is Google Home View. This special dashboard shows the state of your home at a glance, giving you quick access to all your smart devices. Google says more than 2 million devices will support Home View, making the Google Home Hub the center of your smart home experience. Even when you are away from home, you can control the hub using the Google Home app, where you’ll find access to your full Home View dashboard.
Next is Ambient EQ, which uses a special sensor and imaging algorithms to fine-tune the display based on the light around the room. It even turns itself off automatically at night.
Hub Down Time has also been added as an easy way to mute your Home Hub from interacting with users whenever you want a little private time away from the Assistant. During this time only alarms will work.
Google is also introducing Filters as a way to adjust your Google Home Hub to make it more family friendly.
Last but not least, Google has announced Live Albums. This feature lets you select photos of the people you want to see, and it will automatically create a new album with those people in it. It will even continue to update it automatically as you take new photos of these people. It makes it easy to share Live Albums with others in Hub. What about those bad pictures? Google will automatically filter them out.
Google Home Hub pricing and availability
The Google Home Hub will set users back $150, a good $50-$100 cheaper than other smart displays running Google Assistant. You’ll be able to choose from charcoal or slate color options. Pre-orders start today in the US, UK, and Australia, and the Google Home Hub will arrive in stores on October 22.