Earlier this week, we reported that Google could work on an updated Nest Hub that had Soli technology, and a report from 9to5Google now suggests that it may be for something unexpected: sleep tracking.
If you’re not familiar, Soli is Google’s radar technology used to detect motion and human presence. It was first introduced in Pixel 4 (which was discontinued in August), and although it is not in any of Google’s current Pixel devices, it now appears in smart home devices, such as the Nest Thermostat.
So there is a precedent for Google to include the technology in its smart home devices. And the Nest Hub already looks a bit like an alarm clock, and because it does not have a built-in camera, it may be more acceptable in the bedroom for sleep tracking. But I still have a few questions about how it can work.
As almost all sleep aid ads point out, we all sleep differently. So far, Soli has been fairly short range, so what happens if you roll over to the other side of the bed? Will it lose track of you? What if you have a pet that likes to come and lie down (or on) your head? Will it start tracking their movement instead?
There is also the problem of bedside tables. Those who own bedside tables may have them in completely different places in relation to where they sleep, and some may not have them at all. So far, Soli has only been used directionally, so it is unclear how Google will deal with having to deal with detecting motion and presence at a variety of angles and distances.
Maybe Google will surprise us and get everything out of it when they announce the product, or maybe sleep tracking will only work under certain circumstances. Despite my questions, I realize that there are many other ways to have motion controls on an alarm clock sensible.
If all this sounds exciting to you, will 9to5Google the report says that the Soli-enabled Nest Hub should arrive at some point this year. The FCC archives that hit this week may also indicate that the product may be coming soon. Although they do not always guarantee that a product will be released, we do see them occasionally before official product announcements.