Google’s latest smart speaker costs S$189 and comes with a screen – but can’t make any video calls

Apparently, the Nest Hub understands Singlish.
Google

Eight months after launching in the US, Google’s first smart speaker device has finally arrived at stores in Singapore – for the price of S$189.

The Google Nest Hub – previously called the Google Home Hub, before a rebranding exercise – will be sold at Courts, Challenger, M1 and Google Store outlets here, the company said at a media event on Tuesday (June 25).

There are two colours available – charcoal (black) and chalk (white).

Read also: Google introduces the Home Hub, a $150 speaker with a screen to take on Amazon’s Echo Show

The Nest Hub, which is essentially a speaker attached to a seven-inch screen, is the latest in Google’s lineup of smart home products.

Crucially, it does not have a camera, unlike the larger 10-inch screen Nest Hub Max, which was unveiled at the company’s annual developers’ conference in California last month.

No camera means no video calls on the Nest Hub, which some reviewers have called a wasted opportunity, since the speaker has a screen.

Google said it intentionally left out the camera on the smaller Nest Hub due to privacy concerns, adding that users would feel more comfortable putting it in private places like their bedroom.

Read also: After a big privacy backlash, Google’s Nest explains which of its products have microphones and why

Google’s APAC hardware business director, Mickey Kim, told Business Insider that the Nest Hub is a unique offering in the smart speaker market for its ability to understand Singlish.

The device can also understand up to two languages at the same time, such as two different users speaking English and Chinese.

It can also recognise the voices of up to six different people, and provide a personalised response to each.

Google

The Nest Hub uses Google Assistant, and taps on features like Google Search, Photos, and Maps.

It’s able to control most smart home devices, read out the steps of cooking recipes, and play music off Spotify and YouTube on voice command, among other things.

When not in use, it will act like a digital photo frame, showing a slideshow of photos from the user’s Google Photos account.

The screen also has an automatic sensor that will reduce the screen brightness to suit the light level in the room it is in, and turn off the screen light when the user goes to bed.

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