Google I/O 2019 had more hardware announcements than software announcements last night. At I/O 2019, Google announced the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL as cheaper smartphones offering an experience similar to the more premium Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL devices. While the smartphones were a big attraction, Google also detailed its vision for the smart home and connected devices. Google is finally bringing its Nest brand under the connected home division and renamed the Home Hub to Nest Hub. At the event, the search giant also introduced a new device called the Nest Hub Max, which is basically a larger version of the Nest Hub, offering more features.
For starters, the Nest Hub Max features a 10-inch display and will compete with the new Amazon Echo Show. The smart display, as one would expect, is powered by Google Assistant and has a camera on top that can be used to make video calls or for monitoring your home security. The display, like the Home Hub, is matte and can adjust the temperature according to indoor lighting. The Nest Hub Max’s larger display makes it an ideal digital photo frame and it uses Google Photos to display your images. It also has a dedicated home view dashboard to control your connected devices.
Google is pitching the Nest Hub Max as the new kitchen TV since it is capable of streaming your favorite live shows and sports on YouTube TV with subscription. It can also be used to look up for recipes and even learn how to cook via YouTube videos. The Nest Hub Max has a rear-facing woofer for full stereo sound support. Another feature of the Nest Hub Max is the camera at the front, also dubbed as Nest Cam. It can be turned on when you are away and check on things right from the Nest app on your phone.
The Nest Hub Max owners will be able to see their event history, enable Home/Away assist and the camera can send a notification if it detects motion. Google has also integrated Duo for video calling. The coolest feature of Nest Hub Max is the option to just look at the device and raise your hand to pause your media. Like the Nest Hub, the Hub Max can be used by multiple people using Voice Match and Google will offer tailored suggestions for the person. This year, it is adding another new feature called Face Match, a facial recognition system that creates a face model and processes it locally, ensuring the camera data never leaves the device.
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“Whenever you walk in front of the camera, Nest Hub Max recognizes you and shows just your information, not anyone else’s. So in the morning, when you walk into the kitchen, the Assistant knows to greet you with your calendar, commuting details, the weather, and other information you need to start your day,” Rishi Chandra, Vice President of Product and General Manager, Google Home and Nest, said in a blog post.
The Nest Hub Max will be available later this summer in the US for $229 via Google Store and at Best Buy, Target, Home Depot and other retailers. It will also be available in the UK for £219 and in Australia for AUS$349. At I/O 2019, Google also announced that it is expanding Nest Hub to 12 new countries. The Nest Hub, which has received a price cut and now starts at $129, will soon be available in India as well.