The age of the smart speaker is over. Now we live in the age of the smart display, which is basically a smart speaker with a screen slapped on to show you fancy pictures. We already have the Echo Show, Facebook's portal, and Lenovo's Google Assistant-powered tablet, but now Google has just confirmed that the HomeHub is indeed a thing - and not a bunch of fake leaks used to screw with overzealous journalists and bloggers.
As the leaks have shown, it's a small tablet display attached to some sort of stand covered in the same material we've seen on the likes of the Google Home and all those related products. That's hardly a surprise really, trust Google to stick with that seems to work. As you can see it's not very big, especially compared to the jumbo-sized Pixel Slate.
Unlike some of the competing products, however, the Home Hub will have access to Google services. YouTube, Photos, and of course the Search engine itself. YouTube integration has been optimised for use with Hub, which is no doubt going to be something Google uses in its baffling logic arguments as to why the service can't be on non-Google devices. As for Photos, you can use the display to show a slideshow of all your photos, though Google will use machine learning to filter out the rubbish ones you may not want on display.
As Google mentioned in the livestream, there's no camera on top. The idea is to try and make people comfortable to having them in their home, without being worried about someone snooping on them when they're wandering around in their pants. Voice wise it's able to recognise individual users, which Google says is to offer a more personalised experience for everyone in the home. I imagine it also means you can prevent your kids from doing stuff they shouldn't, like watching weirdo YouTube channels or cheating on their homework. In any case, Hub also has filters to make sure nobody is accessing adult content when they shouldn't be.
If you're big on the smart home tech, Home Hub also comes with something called 'Home View'. It's essentially a dashboard you can access by swiping down on the screen (or using your voice) to give you an overview of the smart things you've bought and installed - just in case you can't remember if the Smart Lock actually locked and don't want to get out of bed. That integration also merges smart home gadgets into the Hub, with compatibility with thousands of brands - not just the ones owned by Google or Alphabet. The example they used was the Nest doorbell, which will automatically send a feed of who's been ringing the bell to the Hub screen.
The display itself also has an ambient light sensor, altering the brightness and colours based on the local area - to the point where it will filter out blue light in the evening and turn off at night.
It's also available in four colours. Mint green, pink, dark grey, and white. Buying one will also get you six months of free YouTube premium, which gives you an ad-free experience and unlimited access to YouTube and Google Play Music. If you need physical controls Home Hub can also be controlled with the Google Home app, which has had a design overhaul to match the display's own interface.
Price-wise the Home Hub is going to cost £139 and will be available here, alongside the US and Australia, from 22nd October.