Google prepares a new Nest Hub with Soli radar: what it’s for

Google's next-generation Nest Hub smart display could be equipped with Soli radar to recognize aerial gestures

A new interactive device signed by Google has appeared on the US FCC certification site and it could be a next-generation Nest Hub smart display. The peculiarity lies in the support of the Soli radar technology, which would allow the use of aerial gestures.

The Soli radar has already been equipped by Google on Pixel 4 smartphones and Nest Thermostat, allowing you to use hand gestures to activate some commands of the devices without touching them. It's a technology that would definitely prove useful for a smart display like the Nest Hub, so you can activate commands with just the movement of your hands rather than touch, for example if they're dirty because you're cooking or washing dishes. With a defined gesture recognizable by Soli radar, you'll be able to change audio tracks or answer a video call from the smart display without having to tap.

A4R-GUIK2 will be a new Nest Hub from Google?

The site 5to9google describes the features of the device that appeared on the FCC certification site, model number A4R-GUIK2 which is classified as an "interactive device". This very classification, already used in the past by Google to indicate in the certification sites smart displays or speakers, suggests that it could be the next generation of Nest Hub from the Mountain View giant.

The device supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Zigbee, a wireless communication protocol peer smart home devices. The presence of "Regulatory Labels," also present in the Hub and Hub Max devices, suggests that the device has a screen. The real news, if the nature of the device is confirmed, is the presence of the Soli radar and the additional functions it would bring to the new generation of smart displays.

Soli: what Google's radar is for

The Soli radar technology has been developed by Google for quite some time and allows devices to accurately detect and interpret hand movements, without the need to use touch. The challenge faced by Google has been to miniaturize the radar to the point where it can be equipped on devices such as the Pixel 4 smartphone or the Nest Thermostat announced a few months ago.

In the case of these devices, the scope of the Soli radar has proven to be limited at the moment. In the case of the Pixel 4, the implications of the radar have been few in terms of practicality. For the Nest thermostat, on the other hand, the nearby user is only able to turn on the display with motion and without touch. In the case of a smart display like Nest Hub, 3D gesture recognition implies several practical applications that are actually useful.

For example, if you're using the device while cooking and you don't want to or can't touch it with your hands, you could set up special commands to answer a video call, turn off an alarm or even pause or change a playing audio track. So all that's left to do is wait for Google's eventual confirmation on the next generation of smart displays to see if this potential will be exploited.